While realising that it could be tedious if every entry on the PLoS blog made yet another case for the advantages of open-access publishing, this time I intend to do exactly that. Articles published with open access can be put to excellent use in medical education. No copyright problems stand in the way of a lecturer basing a lecture or a workshop around a discussion of a published paper.
On 21st August PLoS Medicine published a research article from Kenya that reported a remarkable increase in the number of children sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, following policy changes that led to greater availability of free nets. A month later the Lancet published further findings from the same study. Both journals had, however, been taken by surprise, on 16th April, by the release of a lengthy press kit by the World Health Organization, before the articles themselves had been published.
I’ve always been uncomfortable with the notion that medical researchers simply hand down their wisdom to grateful and passive recipients – with patients seen as the most grateful and required to be the most passive. It was therefore a pleasure to be able to attend a one-day event in London entitled ‘Should Patients tell Researchers what to do? If so how?’ The meeting was organised jointly by the James Lind Alliance and the Association of Medical Research Charities.