Open Science is an approach in which the building blocks of knowledge are not hampered by barriers to how we share research tools, data, or findings. Particularly in medical research and healthcare, such barriers can result in paywalls, patents on products or processes, or higher prices for life-saving products that deny access to those in need. Health equity can only be achieved if everyone, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay, has access to care. Lowering these barriers will require rethinking how we develop, finance, and bring to market such technologies.
Open Science is reliant upon a range of actors along the research lifecycle that contribute to an enabling environment where the building blocks of knowledge are shared. Transparency around the research process relies on open data, open source and open methodology, which allow for freely available data, technology and documentation of the methodology, respectively. Open peer review can begin, as some have suggested, prior to data collection, by sharing one's proposed hypothesis and methods. And just like with the registration of clinical trials, a commitment to publish regardless of outcome can help prevent bias towards positive results. By making publications open access, knowledge can be accessible to all and built upon, and open educational resources enable fair access to knowledge in training the next generation of innovators. Each of these factors contributes to more readily available and understandable research products for all people. This approach, collectively called open science, can help ensure greater health equity by making the end-products of research more readily available.