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Open Access Empowers 16-Year-Old to Make Cancer Breakthrough

image © Right to Research Coalition

SPARC’s student initiative, the Right to Research Coalition, has released a video interview of Jack Andraka, a high school sophomore who won the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a breakthrough diagnostic for pancreatic cancer. Interviewed by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Andraka discusses how open access articles and NIH’s PubMed Central played a key role in enabling his discovery.

Andraka used free online articles “religiously” in creating his pancreatic diagnostic that is 26,667 times cheaper, 168 times faster, and 400 times more sensitive than the current test. In discussing his discovery, Andraka points to paywalls for journal articles as a major barrier preventing others from making similar breakthroughs.

This story is just one example of the innovation that can happen when anyone with curiosity, determination, and an Internet connection has open access to research articles—especially those reporting on publicly funded research. Open access leads to innovation, which in turn can improve lives and create critical new products and services.

This interview is presented by the Right to Research Coalition, with support from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Society for Science and the Public.

For press inquiries, contact Nick Shockey, director of the Right to Research Coalition, 202-296-2296.

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