The Team

Open Access Button Co-Leads
davidDavid Carroll

Hi *waves*, if you google me you may think I’m an actor, musician or a physicist but I’m actually a medical student from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I’m interested in stuff, all things science, epidemiology, social justice and cats. Restricting access to research behind paywalls slows innovation, kills curiosity & harms patients. Collisions with publishers’ paywalls occur regularly, not just for members of the public with limited or zero access to university libraries, but also for researchers, both rich and poor, whose libraries cannot maintain subscriptions to every journal. This is incompatible with the internet I’ve grown up with and hiding research behind paywalls shouldn’t be the way we do things.

 headshotbadcropJoe McArthur
Howdy! Despite a great number of articles suggesting I am a Medical student, infact I’m a pharmacology student from London. If I was to begin to talk about what motivates me on this project we’d be here a very long time. Or should I say, I would be, you’d go off and explore much more interesting parts of the internet I’m sure. Suffice to say, the Open Access Button is for me, on the highest level the intersection between a desire to empower others and create a little bit more justice in the world.

Communications Coordinator
Dave headshotDave Bennett
Hey, I’m Dave, a conservation and molecular ecology graduate from Exeter, UK. I first started thinking about open access when I was considering where to publish a paper from a tropical research trip. It was then that I realised that publishing behind a damned paywall meant the very people I’d hoped my research could help wouldn’t be able to read it! From then on I became a strong advocate for open access. Now that there are extensive OA journals and systems in place it seems utterly baffling that people should choose to lock knowledge out of the reach of most, only to be glimpsed by a lucky few. When I’m not studying I’ll be chasing bumblebees around the garden, but preferably will be halfway up a mountain or exploring the depths of a jungle, feeding the mosquitoes.

Communications Officers
MargauxMargaux Larre-Perez
Hi ! I’m Margaux. I am a French PhD student in cognitive science at Paris Descartes University and Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris, France). I am also a teaching assistant in cognitive experimental psychology at Paris Descartes. As a young reseacher, I think it is essential to be involved in open access because it is our role as actors of science to make scientific publishing evolve. Aside from open access, I love talking about science in general and share it with the general public (I have been a FameLab France finalist this year). Oh, I also love swimming, listen to electronic music and drink red wine of course! 🙂

jimstagramJim McGrath
Hi! I’m a doctoral student in English at Northeastern University (in Boston, MA). My dissertation is about contemporary American poetry and new media. I’m also Project Co-Director on Our Marathon, a digital archive of stories and items related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, and I’m the Bibliographic Developer for the online academic journal Digital Humanities Quarterly. Sometimes I write jokes on the Internet. I’m interested in digital archives, electronic literature, comic books, and pizza.

meganMegan Waples
Hi there! I’m Megan and I am currently finishing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science in London. I am actually writing my dissertation as we speak, focusing on how (if) crowdfunding online is affecting operations of libraries and publishing. It’s really interesting research and has been made *much* easier since discovering Open Access. I like to focus discussion on the social justice aspects of how Open Access can change the world and shrink the knowledge gap, as well as how usage of digital libraries and open source software can bring schools and learning to those who have no money for ‘traditional’ education. I have done a little bit of everything-from decorating cookies to giving tours in a museum, and I hope to get involved in the realm of collegiate libraries once I finish my MSc. In my spare time I enjoy reading, discussing comics, binge watching television shows, and volunteering with the Feminist Library

lydiaLydia Zvyagintseva
Hello, My name is Lydia and I am a graduate student in Digital Humanities and Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. I have two French degrees, but now work with humanities and social science data. I have worked in libraries for over 12 years, most recently as a Digital Initiatives Curator Assistant at the University of Alberta Libraries, where I supported open access repository services. I also co-founded a local digital civic engagement group called Open Edmonton. I am an Open Access and Open Data advocate and am thrilled to be on board the Open Access Button. My various interests include data curation and research data management, improving workflows and systems, digital civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, beer appreciation, and academic rapping.

Community and Advocacy Coordinators
Reshma Ramachandran CropReshma Ramachandran
I am a joint MD/MPP student in my final year at Brown Medical School and Harvard Kennedy School. For the past two years, I worked as a full-time fellow at the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) in Washington, D.C. focusing on pharmaceutical and medical device policy. In this role, I organized physicians around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and served as a civil society stakeholder at negotiating rounds, working alongside other civil society groups including Public Citizen, Oxfam, and Medicines San Frontières advocating against certain provisions in the Intellectual Property and Investment chapters that would have dire implications on public health. Earlier, I worked at the World Health Organization as a research assistant piloting the Trauma Care Checklist in hospitals across 14 countries. As a member of the AMSA PharmFree Steering Committee, I led student campaigns around open access including the Don’t Pay Twice Campaign, which mobilized students against the Research Works Act, a bill that would have further limited access to federally funded research. Currently, I serve as the Co-Chair of the National Physicians Alliance FDA Task Force and conducts research on industry conflict of interest in academic medical centers and in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Harvard Medical School looking at the intersection of law, medicine, and policy. In my free time, I like to write and draw comic books and graphic novels.

melton_photoSarah Melton
Hi there! I’m Sarah, and I’m a PhD candidate with a love of public history and the digital humanities. I also work in open access academic publishing, and I spend a lot of time talking with humanities scholars about the benefits of OA. Much of the conversation around open access has centered around scientific publishing, but the humanities and social sciences also face the problem of paywalled research–though with a set of unique challenges given some important differences in publishing models. When I’m not pondering issues of intellectual property, privacy, and the digital public sphere, I enjoy terrible puns and fantastic food.

Consultation and Partnership Coordinator
MinuetteMinuette Le

I am a design researcher living in Berlin, and studied Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons the New School in New York. I am currently working with the Hybrid Publishing Lab at Leuphana Universität in Lüneburg, Germany where we are investigating open access, emerging forms of scholarly communication as well as developing new open-source tools for academic publishing. I have an affinity for pirates and hackers, and am researching issues of piracy, open software and hardware as spaces of creativity and innovation. I believe that addressing today’s broken system of academic publishing will rely on a willingness to experiment with new ideas, models, and collaboration on many different levels. The OAButton is a huge step towards helping all of us understand and map this global problem.

Fundraising Coordinator
GTGeorgina Taylor
G’day! I’m a medicine and philosophy student from Tasmania, Australia. I’ve been involved in both global health and medical research throughout my degree. Once I heard about Open Access it just clicked that it fit together the things I’m passionate about. I’m really excited about working in an international team, despite meetings first thing in the morning. Aside from Open Access, I’m interested in public and global health, especially Australian Indigenous health, and kidneys.

.Grant Writers
heidiHeidi Dowding
I hold a BA in Art History from Michigan State University and an MLIS from Wayne State University.  Previously I worked as a digital librarian in Kazakhstan, and took part in the Library of Congress’ inaugural National Digital Stewardship Residency fellowship program.  Technology and its impact on access to information have been my main professional focus.

I currently work as a researcher for the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Huygens ING Research Institute, where I am developing sustainable business models for publication and dissemination of digital scholarly editions.  A lot of this work focuses on the opportunities and challenges of open access in the humanities.

JP headshotJoseph Paul
I am an undergraduate at East Carolina University in North Carolina, USA and will be serving as a grant writer for the Open Access Button. I am studying biology with the intention of pursuing a career in medical research. My interests include neurologic disease, public health as it relates to psychiatric and geriatric diseases, and research ethics (particularly with clinical trials). I initially encountered the Open Access Button through reading a new OA journal eLife and have since been very excited to work with such a motivated and youthful group to combat restricted access to scientific publishing. I believe that it is possible to maintain a high quality pipeline of published research and to make those results and reports available to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic or geographic circumstance. When I’m not in lectures or the lab, I tend to dabble in golf and hunting (primarily ducks).

RachaelRachael Patton
I enjoy reading, reviewing and critiqueing science and scientific writing. My writing meanders toward discussing how we understand and disseminate knowledge. I adore Massimo Pigliucci, Dayna Baumeister, Stephen J. Gould, and Pablo Neruda. I have always been an entrepreneur, at heart, and toil, daily, on a business model that can acheive the harmonious bargaining system of the lichen symbiosis, which is what inspires me most. During the week, I make food art from our county’s produce, and deliver it on my bicycle at lunch time. I also run an ecologicaly sound house-cleaning service. I use the scientific method every day to learn how to ask questions. Especially this one: what am I going to do with a degree in theater and a degree in botany?

Research Assistant
Rigel Hope
I am a nontraditional medical student in the US, former (and possibly future) bench researcher, longtime linux user, oft-admirer/sometimes- participant in hacker culture, once-and-futureWikipedian, access to medicines advocate, and egalitarian.

Although I’ve been a longtime advocate of Open *, and particularly Open Access within STEM academia, for most of that time my advocacy was at the level of “some random yahoo muttering about the morality of research product dissemination.” I became more involved in OA via a Steering Committee position with the American Medical Student Association’s “PharmFree” (now “Just Medicine”) group.

I believe that science and scientific knowledge belongs to everyone,and to noone. I also suspect that greater dissemination of scientific research will prompt many more questions about the nature of research and the scientific process, some of which may be uncomfortable, but which our societies and cultures will need to grapple with and address.

Launch Coordinator
7eaeff9584106ef9ea92061d41d18aabChealsye Bowley
Hi, I’m Chealsye! I’m a librarian and Open Access enthusiast. I stumbled onto Open Access during library school and quickly fell in love. I believe access to information is a human right and that Open Access is a way to bridge the information gap, make knowledge more discoverable, and fuel the research revolution. I previously led Button communications and have worked on other social media campaigns including with Amnesty International USA and Penny4NASA. Now I’m coordinating the launch of Button 2.0.

Luke Barnes
Hi! I’m a Molecular Biology student currently studying in Cardiff. I’m also a theatre nerd and tea enthusiast, but that’s besides the point! I’m quite a geeky scientist and do enjoy reading about interesting advances, however regularly get shut down by paywalls. It was through a frustrated tweet on one such occasion that I found the Open Access Button. I have an interest in science communication, particularly in schools, and engaging the younger generations in cutting-edge scientific discoveries. This is, of course, made so much harder by paywalls and the closed-access nature of a lot of work.

juan headshotJuan López-Tavera
Hi! My name is Juan Carlos. I am a medical student from México. I am physiology teaching assistant, cinephile and wannabe science writer. I like translational medicine, taking MOOCs and daydreaming. I think global health issues cannot be solved blindfolded to scientific evidence; knowledge should be freely available to anyone who is interested, so anyone could help. I heard about the Open Access Button in a PLoS Blog and Twitter, and immediately loved it.


MugshotNatalie Catherwood
After studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge I returned to my native Northern Ireland to study Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. Both of my courses have relied heavily upon up to date literature and yet I’m surprised how even students at some of the best resourced institutions can struggle to access the research they need. Like so many problems, I’d come to accept paywalls as an inevitable part of student life without ever thinking about the bigger picture- that I was just one of thousands (millions?) who perhaps had the potential to make a difference. After all, “scientia est potentia” (knowledge is power) but it’s useless if it’s hidden behind a paywall! I’m a big believer in not moaning about a problem unless you’re willing to do something about it and so when I heard about the Open Access Button I got involved so I could help raise awareness of the issue and help everyone in their quest for learning whether researcher, doctor, patient or public.
I don’t have any spare time but I often neglect work to enjoy playing rugby and rock climbing which keeps me sane.

Sucheta TiwariSucheta Tiwari
Hello, I am a graduate student studying MSc Global Health Science at Oxford. I qualified as a medical doctor from New Delhi, India in 2013. One of the first major differences I found between my higher education in Oxford and Delhi was the relatively easy access to journals. Open Access, especially to students and non-academics, still seems like a distant dream in countries like India. Lack of access to knowledge is one of the most subtle forms of injustice in the world. Information not only saves lives, it empowers them. I believe the Open Access Button is an important step in the right direction.

I’m interested in global health issues, health systems research and maternal and child health. I am an obsessive reader and I enjoy distance running.

Strategy Lead
pennyPenny Andrews
Hi, I’m Penny. I study information science, with particular interests in research support, scholarly communication, standards, interoperability, socio-technical systems and – yes – Open Access. My undergrad was in ICT, including assessed content on intellectual property rights, the digital divide and systems failure.

I took my BSc as a mature student, having dropped out of university twice, so there was a long period of time where I wanted to read scholarly material and was sent links by academic friends but had no access. I am on the ECR board of the Open Library of Humanities, as despite having studied a STEM subject, I am an artist and musician and now a social scientist. The focus on Open Science and funding mandates over wider open culture bothers me. I am also involved in the Open Education movement and Open Data.

When I’m not being an Open activist and autism campaigner, I do creative stuff and run as a cerebral palsy sprinter.

Technology Assistant

mtb_oab_headshotMartin Bentley
Molweni! My name is Martin, and I am a geology/computing science MSc student at NMMU in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. On my first day of attempting to start my initial proposal, I hit 8 paywalls, without even working particularly hard. Some of these were (probably) important baseline papers for the fields that I am looking at, but not being able to read them, I am not really sure about this…. Before starting this, I worked for a consulting firm in the construction industry and was hitting paywalls repeatedly. The Button will help raise awareness about the magnitude of the problem, and push to provide a solution to the large numbers of people trying to get access to papers that they need, for whatever reason. When not geologising, I spend far too much time on the internet, mixed with juggling and other circus-type things, rock climbing and compulsive reading.


  1. […] and since November, we’ve been working hard planning for the future of the Button and building a global, diverse student team supplemented by a professional steering committee to help us make the future Button the […]

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