SPARC Profiles Four Scientists Involved in Open Access Movement

SPARC has profiled four scientists involved in open access movement: Jonathan Eisen, Michael Eisen, Josh Buckholtz, and Neil Buckholtz.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

In celebration of Open Access Week (October 18-24), SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is showcasing the stories of two exceptional families who have embraced Open Access as a value and have advanced their own work — though not always without reservations. The personal stories of brothers Jonathan and Michael Eisen (both evolutionary biologists), along with Neil Buckholtz and his son, Josh (neuroscientists), grappling with the pros and cons of Open Access are now profiled on the SPARC Web site.

As a teenager, Josh Buckholtz asked his father, Neil, endless questions about science. Neil is a neuroscientist at the NIH National Institute on Aging and Chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch. Josh, 33, is completing his Ph.D in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University.  Together they share a passion to unlock the mysteries of the brain, and are pioneers who advocate for Open Access in their area of research. Neil helped conceive the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), which has openly shared data — making every single Alzheimer’s-related research finding public immediately online. Josh is a review editor at Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, an online open-access journal published by the Frontiers Research Foundation.

Science has always been an integral part of the lives of the Eisen brothers.  Their parents and grandfather were all working scientists. As kids, Jonathan was fascinated with bugs and Michael was a math whiz who liked to program computers. Their career paths eventually converged, with both working as evolutionary biologists in California. Michael was the first of the pair of siblings to embrace Open Access, as the founder of the Public Library of Science (PLoS). He helped convince Jonathan, initially skeptical of open sharing of his scientific work, to join in his efforts to push for free access to research. Jonathan was on the first editorial board of PLoS Biology and has been an outspoken advocate of Open Access since 2003. Even their mother, Laura, now a professor who teaches chemistry and biochemistry at George Washington University, also promotes Open Access, rounding out the family affair.

"The compelling, personal stories of individual scientists who are pursuing Open Access to their works — and the works they need access to — are powerful examples of why adoption of Open Access is growing," says Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, which is the lead organizer of Open Access Week. "Scientists on the front lines of research are keenly aware of the limitations that access places on the ability of research to move forward. And, as Michael Eisen notes, it all starts with walking the walk; if you don’t  choose an open-access option yourself, how can you convince your family it's a good idea? How can you possibly convince anyone else to give it a try? For both the Eisen and the Buckholtz families, Open Access is a matter of values — and a moving family affair."

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