Saturday, March 04, 2017

Fwd: You paid for it. Do you know what it is?

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Did you know you're a major funder of scientific research?
Hello Mark,
Public research and open data changes lives. I know because I saw it first hand. One of my close friends got sick with a rare, degenerative disease and I was shocked to see how many barriers he faced trying to access publicly-funded research to learn more about his condition. Information about what treatment options and information that might help him – that he had helped pay for as a taxpayer – could only be accessed through expensive, paid sites maintained by publishers.
Add your name to support Open Data
Each year, taxpayers like you and me fund billions of dollars in scientific research. That research has transformed the way we communicate, learn and save lives — just think about how mapping the humane genome has revolutionized medicine and our vocabulary alike.
That's why I'm writing to you today, on Open Data Day, to ask that as the taxpayer funders of public research, we start talking about what we expect from the research we pay for. It's time for a bigger conversation about the role of science and information in our lives, and that conversation begins with a few key principles:
  • We should be able to see work we pay for. This should apply to individuals and professional scientists alike.
  • Publicly-funded research should be preserved and archived. We don't know when research will come in handy again so preservation is key! For example, the technology developed for the Hubble space telescope was later used to create a new method of breast cancer screening. That's why it's crucial for this work to be preserved and archived rigorously.
  • Data should be truly open. You shouldn't need expensive software to be able to access or even look at different studies through different studies — the lower the artificial barriers, the easier we make it to access knowledge, the more rapidly progress can happen.
Will you add your name to these principles and share them with your friends, family and colleagues to help kick-start a conversation about how important science is to our lives?
What makes science awesome is that it allows for anyone to ask questions, collect and examine evidence, and communicate the results of what was found. By coming together and sparking a conversation about the need for public research to be open, we can help accelerate that process.

Kaitlin Thaney
Mozilla Senior Fellow + Open Data Advocate
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