Open Access Award recipients announced

To mark the beginning of Open Access Week, the Accelerating Science Award Program announced the three recipients of its inaugural award yesterday in Washington, DC.

The Award, supported by the Wellcome Trust, PLOS and Google, is to acknowledge and honour individuals and teams who have reused previously published Open Access research to address a real-world challenge and make a difference to society.
 
Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services at the Wellcome Trust said: "As keen advocates for Open Access, we are delighted to be supporting ASAP. All three winners provide compelling examples of the ways in which having content that is freely accessible and usable benefits both science and society. By demonstrating how Open Access has led to the development of new knowledge and treatments, the Award is a fantastic way of championing the real-world benefits of Open Access."
 
This year's winners have used open access research to explore a collaborative approach to malaria research, to develop a self-testing app for patients with HIV, and to create a tool for uploading and sharing multimedia files to simplify complex research outputs.
 
Matthew Todd created an open source collaboration to turn publicly available data into a global effort to help identify new anti-malaria drugs. He says of the award: "This recognition may help enlist more people into the collaborative effort to fight malaria. If we succeed with these efforts, the approach could be extended to fighting other diseases – such as cancer."
 
Nitika Pant Pai, Caroline Vadnais, Roni Deli-Houssein and Sushmita Shivkumar received the award for their work empowering patients through the use of a HIV Self-Test App. The app, using original research published in multiple open access journals, was developed to increase awareness, knowledge and access to a convenient HIV screening option, circumventing the social visibility associated with HIV testing in a healthcare facility.
 
"Being an award recipient will help shine light on the fact that open access acts like a catalyst – by allowing unrestricted knowledge sharing. It exponentiates the power of knowledge to transform and impact lives beyond borders, boundaries, languages, and regions; facilitates creation of novel innovations, improved practices and policies," said Dr. Nitika Pant Pai.
 
The Open Access Media Importer (OAMI), by Daniel Mietchen, Raphael Wimmer and Nils Dagsson Moskopp, is a 'bot' that can find and download supplementary multimedia files from licensed Open access research articles. The bot then uploads them to Wikimedia Commons in order to provide better access to good quality multimedia, helping to increase better understanding of science and the natural world.
 
Dr Daniel Mietchen said: "We want people to play around with scientific materials and to engage with scientific processes. Scientific research should play a more public role in our society, and open licenses greatly facilitate that. We are glad that the award highlights the value of reusing, revising, remixing and redistributing open access materials."
 
Photos and video interviews of the winning recipients and honourable mentions can be found at the Accelerating Science Award Program toolkit website.