Open Access has been a topic that has provoked much debate and discussion in the scientific community with many viewing it as a necessary step to opening up science to the general public and assisting engagement. It is clearly a good thing that research, at least that which is publicly funded, be available to the public whose money allowed research to take place.
However we at the 21st Floor feel that Open Access on it’s own may not be enough, science can be, at times, a complex an inaccessible thing. Research papers are full of disciplinary jargon and research terms that may be daunting to scientists from different disciplines or even from different fields within a single discipline. In short there are papers out there that may remain impenetrable to non-experts which is an issue that open access alone cannot fix.
The 21st Floor Wiki Project plans to open up scientific research to the public by offering plain-language summaries of important scientific research.
If you have written or read anything that has been published in the scientific literature then we would like to invite you to create a page which summarises the work for a lay audience. We would like to invite you to summarise your research, or research you feel is important, in a way that can be easily understood by those outside your field. We would hope that we could then develop these contributions into a resource that spans all disciplines and makes science more accessible and understandable to both non-scientists and scientists in other fields alike.
If you wish to contribute the page should be named after the published title of the work and should ideally include the following sections (loosely following the structure of a standard research paper):
- A brief summary
- Why the work was done (what inspired the research? why did the authors want to ask these questions?)
- What was done
- What the results were
- What conclusions can be drawn from these results
- Implications of the research (what has been done with the work since publication? has it been reported in the popular press? have any scientific or public controversies arisen from the work?)
The service will always remain completely free of charge and advertising. Hopefully, with your help, we can turn this into a worthwhile resource for everyone who is interested in science and research for any reason.
You can find the wiki here: http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
All the best,
The 21st Floor
Any queries should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org