"Running into a publisher’s paywall is one of the biggest daily frustrations that many in research tend to encounter. Students and health advocates David Carroll and Joe McArthur decided to take these dead ends and turn them into something useful. With the help of the open source and open access communities, they have just created a prototype of a tool—the OA Button—to map article access denials and help users track down a version of the publication available for their use.
David Carroll took a year out of his medical studies at Queen's University in Belfast to gain research experience in the lab. For his study on cystic fibrosis, he read only papers for which his university had a subscription or those published in open access. At $35 a paper, everything else written on the topic fell by the wayside. “That gap in my knowledge probably ended my research,” he says, “because I didn’t have the opportunity to read everything [that would help me] generate hypotheses. I could only use what I had.”