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Open Access Button & r/Scholar

20 Jan

A friend (1) has just informed me of the fantastic Open Access Button plugin tool, a scheme started by medical students who were frustrated by research pay walls online.

All you have to do is install the link on your toolbar and each time you come across a paper or article you cannot access you simply click the link.  A side panel appears where you fill the boxes with the article URL, the digital object identifier (DOI), add a quick article description and add a reason why you need to access the research and then submit it.  This then lets users, the public and professionals, know where research is being pay wall blocked and adds the link to a geographic map of the world informing other users of problems.  It is hoped that the button will show the impact of academic pay walls on research dissemination and produce data on the worldwide distribution of access to research papers.

OAB

The Open Access Button logo (Image credit: David Carroll & Joseph McArthur/OAB).

Also available is the fantastic Reddit scholar thread where you can request any article needed that is pay walled and another Reddit user will provide you with the article, usually within a very small time frame.  This is a fantastic use of the combination of supply and demand for academic access to research articles by individuals who are dedicated to sharing resources.

I’ve installed the open access plugin and it shall be used when I cannot access pay wall blocked articles to learn about the latest updates in human osteology and bioarchaeology.  At the current moment I am finding a lot of articles I try to read are often blocked by pay walls, leaving only the abstract to tantalize me with the forbidden fruits of academic research.  This is frustrating as I am trying to find articles relating to physical impairment in the past and I am finding that the knowledge is out there but it is locked beyond my means to access it.

Update 20/01/14

I have just used the button to report an article I could not access and, quite wonderfully, the plugin suggested several other articles to consider and other sites where I may find the article that I was originally looking for.

Notes

(1.) My friend is one of three authors of the fantastic Scatterfeed blog, a site dedicated to science and nature.  It is well worth checking the site.

Further Information

  • Open Access Button blog site can be found here.
  • The Open Access Button main site can be found here.
  • The r/Scholar Reddit forum can be found here.
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Bioarchaeology on Reddit

14 Mar

It has been fairly quiet here on this site as of late, but rest assured I will starting posting more frequently soon.  In other interactive news there is a new Reddit sub forum entitled ‘Bioarchaeology‘, where news and information for various bone and archaeological topics can be discussed, together with relevant links to interesting articles and news.  I was alerted to this site from a generous reader of this blog, and I look forward to adding my own information to the Reddit site.  It is worth a look, and heavily encouraged to comment or post news yourself.  It is the perfect place to ask any burning questions interested or intrigued readers have about bodies and bones!

My current favourite Reddit link is this article on bodily decomposition, by Arpad A. Vass.  It caught my attention as it succinctly describes the various conditions (such as autolysis and the stages of putrefaction) that lead to the decay of flesh and bone of a human body after death.

As ever, if you are an interested reader of this blog then please feel free to ask any questions on any of the posts in either the comments section or via email correspondence (see About the Author tab).