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The Importance of Open Access Research to Scientists and Policymakers

Ahmed Ayed

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The Importance of Open Access Research to Scientists and Policymakers

About Dr. Monica Granados and this TKS episode:

In this episode of The Know Show Podcast we meet Dr. Monica Granados, a policy advisor and academic. Watch to see her talk about her goal to make it easier for scientists to engage in Open Access and Open Science practices, drawing this out through her current roles, for example, as a policy advisor for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

 

 

A brief synopsis:

Dr. Granados begins by talking about how she was introduced to the concept of Open Science. She contrasts this with the existing research structure she experienced, where science is largely closed. From here, she discusses movements within the research industry that are opening this up, and the benefits of pushing for this to be taken even further.

It was a life-changing moment when I recognised that the way I was doing science was not beneficial to science... There was a different way to practice science.

Dr. Monica Granados

 

Arriving at this conclusion, Monica set up workshops for scientists to show them that there was a different way to practice science. She tells Hussain how she wanted to make it explicit that science could be made more accessible to both other scientists, and the public. This became her passion and underpinned the re-shaping of her career. She discusses the way this drove her taking her current role on the leadership team of a non-profit called PREreview. The organisation focuses on making the review process and scholarly communication more open, accessible, and more equitable. Her role as a senior policy advisor for Environment and Climate Change Canada, means she also helps collect and put together Open Science and data policy for her department.

 

Critiquing the current scholarly system:

Monica goes on to explain that one of the requirements to get into academia and become established, is the number of publications you’re able to publish after completing a PhD. She discusses this publishing process, and how it is centred around paywalled journals. By incentivising publishing in these spaces as the way to become recognised, academic work is not becoming more accessible. She says that this is what needs to change, outlining that these paywalled journals are part of a self-reinforcing system that was initially built for the communication of science.

Asked by Hussain whether academics are beginning to move towards an Open Access way of doing things, Monica outlines that although it’s discipline-specific, the rise of pre-prints gained importance during the pandemic. This was quietly revolutionary, as it meant that research could be opened up to the public earlier on in the publishing process. Monica says that this is only the start, and that there is a lot of change that is yet to come.

She goes on to talk about her current role that brings these passions together: 

I knew what it was like to be a scientist. I’d loved Open Science, and so when you put all of that together, it made me a pretty good policy advisor.

Dr. Monica Granados

 

She offers an insight into this field of work, and the way her unique perspective feeds into her work.  Monica expands on her day-to-day activities as a policy advisor. This includes lots of engagement with the scientific community, both external and internal to the government, carrying out consultations, and working with other policy advisors. She also expands on her work advising federal and municipal departments on various matters such as environmental issues and  climate change. 

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TKS take home points:

In this TKS episode, Hussain and Monica discuss how inaccessible academic research is. Monica emphasises the benefits of Open Access and the importance of making academic research accessible not only among scientists but also accessible to the public. Listen to Hussain and Monica’s discussion on pushing Open Access forwards, making knowledge more accessible, and the significance and potential for governments promoting Open Access.

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