Read This First

These FAQs are intended to be read with and are not a substitute for the Program Rules. Please read the Rules for official, complete information on eligibility, nominations, awards, judging criteria, and other Program details.

What is the Accelerating Science Award Program?

The Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP) seeks to build awareness and encourage the use of scientific research – published through Open Access – in transformative ways. The program illuminates how the unrestricted exchange of information can advance science and medicine, and benefit society. The ASAP Program also aspires to encourage a new generation of individuals to embrace the application of scientific research published through Open Access. The Program recognizes individuals who have applied scientific research — published through Open Access — to innovate in any field and/or benefit society.

Who is eligible for the awards?

The ASAP Program is seeking nominations for individuals who have used, applied, or remixed scientific research – published through Open Access — to make a difference in science, medicine, business, technology or society as a whole. Potential nominees include individuals, teams, or groups of collaborators — such as scientists, researchers, educators, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers, patient advocates, public health workers, and students. All nominees must be 18 years of age or older.

What are the criteria for entering?

Please see the formal eligibility and judging criteria which are set out in the Program Rules for complete details. Nominations must be for innovative use that was either completed, or is substantially completed but ongoing, by May 1, 2013. All Nominees for an ASAP program award must be at least 18 years of age.

What is considered scientific research published through Open Access?

Research articles or content must be Open Access and have been published before May 1, 2013 in a peer-reviewed journal or in a repository recognized in the Open Access community.

How will nominations be evaluated?

Nominations will be judged by a panel of unbiased, eminent experts, who will select a final set of laudable examples which best illustrate the program’s stated purpose. The judges will consider Nominations according to two primary questions and criteria:

  • Did the Nominated Use Case lead to an innovation in any field and/or benefit society as a whole?
  • Does the Innovative Use showcase the value of Open Access?

Additionally, for each nomination, the research that the Innovative User(s) relied upon must have been:

  • Published before May 1, 2013, in a peer-reviewed journal or in a repository recognized in the Open Access community. If the innovative use creates a scholarly output, it must be Open Access.
  • Made immediately available upon publication and licensed only under CC BY or CC0 terms.

Also, the nominated work done by the Innovative User must have been:

  • Complete as of May 1, 2013 or substantially completed but ongoing as of that date.

Can you provide examples of innovative use that might be suitable for a nomination?

Here are some examples — please note that these are for illustrative purposes only and not meant to represent any actual researcher, innovative use, individual, or organization, and they do not cover all the potential innovative use cases.

  • The health minister of a low income country was able to confidently and quickly change cancer treatment protocols based on an oncology research article detailing successful uses of a repurposed cancer drug published by a peer reviewed, Open Access journal, which had been translated into multiple languages by a group of retired language teachers.
  • A climate policy expert took original figures and examples from a recent Open Access climate change research paper — correlating temperature increases with rises in ocean depth — and repurposed these findings in a policy-focused presentation at a conference of experts from 25 Asian and Oceanic countries – leading to the adoption of stricter emissions standards by several participating countries.
  • A technologist used the APIs provided by Open Access publishers and aggregators to chart trending topics in environmental science research. He then mapped these research priorities against NSF and RCUK grants to show how grant monies impact what areas researchers pursue.
  • A team of bioinformatics researchers utilized tissue samples from an Open Access repository to obtain tumor DNA sequence abnormality data, which they repurposed to create a new web-based app for oncologists to analyze a new patient’s tumor cells – thus facilitating personalized cancer treatment.

Can I nominate myself?

Yes. First read the complete Program Rules and then complete the online nomination form.

How do I submit a nomination?

Anyone can nominate an individual or team using a simple online form. Individuals are also free to nominate themselves. You will need to provide justification for the nomination, links to evidence, and contact information for the persons being nominated.

Who should be listed in the submission?

List the individual(s) who were primarily responsible for or contributed materially to the innovative use. List all original scientific research published through Open Access on which the innovative use is based. One submission will be accepted for each innovative use case.

How long should my nomination submission be?

The nomination form asks two questions. Responses to each question are limited to approximately 350 words (2,000 characters). However, you may include links to supporting materials, such as websites, online articles, blogs, media mentions, etc. as supplemental information.

Will my nomination be posted with my name?

No nominations will be made public.

No nominator names will be made public.

What awards or recognition do the winners receive?

The ASAP Program is offering:

  • Three top awards of $30,000 each, to be evenly split among all nominated individuals included in the winning entry;
  • A trip to Washington, D.C., in October 2013 for a representative from each winning entry to be honored at an Open Access Week kickoff event hosted by SPARC and the World Bank
  • Inclusion in a portfolio book distributed online and in print around the world

Honorable mention recipients and the original scientific research relied upon by the innovative users will also be recognized through the program website and in the portfolio book.

When are the nominations due?

Nominations will be accepted from May 1 to June 15, 2013.

When will winners be announced?

Finalists will be notified in August, 2013. Award Winners will be publicly announced October 21, 2013. If you are a winner, the program organizers will contact you prior to the public announcement to arrange your travel to the Open Access Week Kickoff Event.

Can persons who are not U.S. citizens be nominated?

Yes, the ASAP Program is seeking stories about Open Access pioneers from around the globe. Original research can be published in any language, however, all nominations must be submitted in the English language. Please read the official Program Rules for other eligibility requirements.

Who are the program sponsors?

The ASAP Program is sponsored by 27 global organizations that value the transformative impact of applying scientific research published through Open Access to extend the reach of science and medicine.

Sponsors of the program are: The Association of College & Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Co-Action Publishing, Copernicus Publications, Creative Commons, the Directory of Open Access Journals, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, EIFL, eLife, Hindawi, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Health Research Alliance, Impact Story, Jisc, Max Planck Society, Mendeley, Microsoft Research, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, Research Councils UK, Research Libraries UK, SPARC, SSRN, SURF, the World Bank, and major sponsors Google, PLOS, and the Wellcome Trust.

Please see the Sponsors page for more information on each organization.

Can other individuals from the winning teams also attend the Open Access Week event?

Yes, all members of the top award winners, authors of the original research on which the winning work is based,  and any honorable mention selections will be invited and are welcome to attend the Open Access Week event at their own expense. Travel will only be reimbursed for one representative from each top award winner.

Where do I go if I have a question not answered in the FAQ?

Refer to the Program Rules. If you require further assistance, please send an email to ASAP[at]plos.org.