Monday, January 11: Opening the Academy – Why Research Results Should be Accessible


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Speaker: Dr. A. Townsend Peterson

Date/Time: Monday, January 11th; 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Scientific research costs money to carry out, and much of this money comes from the federal state governments. As such, one might expect that research outcomes would be viewed as a public good, and would be openly available to all people. Such is not the case, unfortunately: rather, scientific research has increasingly been published in commercial journals that are not easily available to the broader public. The result is that the general public is shut out entirely, and even the academic community has increasing problems to access the results of its own research! I outline the origins and advance of the open access movement, which aims to remedy these access gaps, and give some ideas and views into the future of scientific communication.

Town Peterson is a researcher in systematics, biogeography, and ecology at the University of Kansas, based in the Biodiversity Institute and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research extends broadly from basic biodiversity informatics through ecological niche modeling and distributional ecology to biogeography. He works with tropical birds worldwide, as well as with diverse organisms that fit well with specific questions; he also works with the biogeography and ecology of diseases, which leads to development of transmission risk maps for diverse disease systems. Finally, in recent years, he has focused on developing open educational resources for biodiversity informatics (see His lab page can be seen at, and a summary of his publications at

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