What Is Open Access?
Open Access is exactly what it sounds like. It means anyone interested being able to access scientific journal articles online. PLOS (Public Library of Science) states the case for Open Access on their site as:
Benefits of OA Research
● Accelerated discovery. With open access, researchers can read and build on the findings of others without restriction.
● Public enrichment. Much scientific and medical research is paid for with public funds. Open access allows taxpayers to see the results of their investment.
● Improved education. Open access means that teachers and their students have access to the latest research findings throughout the world.
There have been many calls for increasing Open Access when it comes to scientific research. These calls have came from within and without the scientific establishment. Recently the US government stated it’s desire that publicly funded research should be made available publicly. Details can be read here: PLOS Commends White House Directive on Open Access
So what does this have to do with amateur paranormal enthusiasts such as ourselves? Well, considering the many disciplines that can bring something to the paranormal table – psychology, sociology, history, folklore, physics, biology, & neuroscience to name some – having freely available access to previous and current research, or breaking theories or knowledge could only be of benefit. In fact, forget about amateur interests, it would be beneficial to anyone interested in researching aspects of the subject.
Additionally, no one would argue against better research methods, informed perspectives, or evidenced based claims when it comes to amateur (and not-so-amateur) investigation groups or individuals. Open Access would give an opportunity to different research methodologies for example – to learn from example and try to apply it as earnestly as possible. Of course, there are many who are happy to sit uncritically and be spoon-fed the latest spiel from the latest para-celeb or show. But some of us actually do hanker for a little more…
So this brings me to my question.
If Open Access to research is beneficial, and raising standards when it comes to amateur paranormal investigation groups is also beneficial, then – In addition to other scientific bodies – should respected psychical or paranormal groups such as the Society for Psychical Research follow suit and make their previous and current research publicly available for anyone interested in learning from it?
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