At the age of 15, Jack Andraka developed a new method for detecting a rare type of pancreatic cancer. Like all scientific discoveries, Jack’s research built on the work of other researchers. Unlike those researchers, however, he lacked access to the expensive scholarly databases usually paid for by their universities. Fortunately, open access databases carrying a Creative Commons license gave him the tools he needed.
“Access to knowledge is, you know, a basic human right,” Jack says. “Knowledge should not be commoditized; it wants to be free.”
There’s been a lot of talk about open access to science research over the past year. In February, the U.S. White House issued a directive requiring that most publicly funded research be available to the public. It was a step in the right direction, but the fight is far from over.
For example, not all of the papers Jack needed were free. He spent nearly a thousand dollars paying to read the research he needed that wasn’t open. He’s the first to admit that he was lucky: for most young scientists around the world, those expenses aren’t an option. “We need the best and most recent research to be available to everyone.”
If you think that everyone should have access to the most current scientific knowledge, then stand with Jack and thousands of other scientists who believe in open by making a gift to Creative Commons.
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation has agreed to match every donation that Creative Commons receives in January 2014.