Research is born free and everywhere is in chains

How the evolution of open access can contribute to developing a more democratic approach for science




Research funder, Open Access, Plan S, Policy


Watch the VIDEO.

The open access movement has come a long way since its origins at the end of the 1990s but we still haven’t achieved the tipping point to make the open access approach, the normal approach. Why are initiatives such as Plan S needed and why did the World Health Organization feel it necessary to join?

This talk will draw on experiences at Wellcome Trust and WHO, implementing the first open access policy for a European Research funder, creating Europe PubMed Central and developing a policy that works for a United Nations agency. Robert will outline why achieving open access requires addressing barriers across political, technical and cultural barriers – with perhaps the culture of research assessment and reward needing the biggest change if we are to truly democratise science so that the people who pay for the research, the taxpayers, can access, read and use the research.

Author Biography

Robert Fraser Terry, World Health Organization

Robert Terry is a senior strategic and project manager with more than 20 years experience in strategy development and implementation. He has specialized knowledge in natural resources, development, health and research policy in low and high income countries for governmental, non-governmental, philanthropic and UN organizations.

Robert joined the World Health Organization in 2007 and led on the development and implementation of the Organization’s strategy on Research for Health. He is one of the lead authors of the 2013 WHO World Health Report– Research for Universal Health Coverage and developed the concept which led to the creation of the WHO Global Health R&D Observatory. Currently he works for the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) where he is responsible for knowledge management, open access, data sharing and ensuring evidence is translated into policy and practice.

His early career in research and development was in agriculture and he went on to positions at the Royal Society where he ran the international research exchange programme and the Wellcome Trust where he was senior policy advisor. He led the development of Wellcome’s first open access policy and the subsequent establishment of Europe PubMed Central.

He has lived and worked in the Middle East and undertaken development consultancies in a number of African and Asian countries for Oxfam, UNAIS and DFID. He has a BSc in Botany from the University of Sheffield and an MPhil. in Plant Breeding (crop genetics) from the University of Cambridge.