Despite all the ink dedicated to open access as a new publishing model it is in fact an old way. Take for example, Dr. Jonas Salk. Unknown thousands, maybe even you, owe their ability to walk to Dr. Salk. How so? He invented the vaccine for Polio in 1952. The research, creation, and funding of the vaccine would today be called open access.
When asked who owned the patent, Salk replied:
“Well, the people I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
Funding for the creation of the drug was raised through a public canvassing campaign called March of Dimes.
Such a revelation would be unlikely in the copyright/patent climate today. The open access movement, however, is attempting to revive the spirit of Salk.
Check out open access medical research groups like DNDI that work with major pharmaceutical companies to help create cures to disease that are unprofitable to cure.