Daily Archives: July 3, 2008

Why I support open access

While the controversy races on about the Nature piece about PLoS, see DrugMonkey, Bill and Coturnix, I thought I would throw my 2 cents in. Rather than piling on here (mainly cause I already did in DMs comments) I would like to offer my view on why open access is such an important movement.

Many years ago (seems like ages) my PhD lab was one of the first to start culturing adult trigeminal neurons in mass as a functional assay for nociceptor activity. This approach had several advantages. The key to any primary culture system with adult neurons is healthy neurons and getting healthy neurons is dependent on how fast you can get them out and into an environment where they can be happy again. Another key is to use as few animals as possible to get a reasonable density that will work with your assay. As it turned out, the little method that we utilized (we weren’t the first, we just did it more) was quite useful insofar as we could get very healthy neurons that behaved nicely in a number of assays from a very small number of animals, generally much fewer than if one was to use dorsal root ganglion neurons (which are very difficult to get from adults). Along the way in studying cannabinoid effects on these neurons I started a little side project that eventually turned into a manuscript that we decided to publish in an open access journal. This particular journal was new, at the time, and we were somewhat hesitant to publish there; however, we all thought that the idea of open access was a good one and we could tell that there was some inertia building (this was about the time of the Cell Press rangling with U California). We submitted and after some time and revisions the paper was accepted and published. Continue reading