By Abigail Speller
Open and collaborative science (OCS) is a series of principles and practices that strive to make research more participatory and accessible. To achieve this, OCS utilizes the Internet as a space for scientific engagement, as well as for disseminating research findings. Such strategies are particularly relevant to the context of global health, where scientists and practitioners must work together across wide geographical distances to respond to the health needs of the world’s poor.
Although global health research is an important tool for addressing health disparities, global health researchers from the Global North and the Global South constantly interact under inequitable circumstances. Indeed, power relations between North and South continue to permeate the discipline and the “culture of the science system” more broadly. Many global health researchers continue to publish in journals that are inaccessible for their colleagues in the Global South; Northern partners often have disproportionate influence over research agendas and project resources; and much of the health research produced by scholars in the Global South remains invisible.
What is OCS, what is global health, and how can principles of open science be applied to make meaningful change within global health research and practice? What sorts of OCS initiatives for global health exist, and how can global health researchers support these endeavors? To build understanding between global health actors and the open development movement, this piece introduces readers to the concepts of global health and OCS, and explores how open principles can be leveraged to make global health research more equitable and accessible.
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