In case you missed why Open Access is awesome, the lack of open access is only one of many barriers that discourage the dissemination of scientific information to the public. Fortunately, more researchers are publishing in Open Access journals or with Open Access options thanks to requirements by various funding agencies. Although open access issues still remain a significant barrier to the dissemination of scientific information to the public; a greater barrier may be the lack of confidence for reading and understanding scientific articles. Reading scientific literature can be intimidating for many people. It’s full of scientific jargon, unfamiliar tools and techniques, and can feel more or less like reading text in a foreign language. While many people would be content with reading press releases of scientific discoveries by science communicators and journalists, only a small percentage of scientific literature actually receives significant press coverage. Hence, people miss out on discoveries relevant to them every day!
For care providers/patients dealing with rare diseases, wading into the murky waters of scientific literature is often mandatory. Rare disease don’t receive nearly the same amount of research or media attention as more common diseases, leaving little choice but primary scientific articles to keep informed of important discoveries.