Open access to scholarly research benefits not only the academic world but also the general public. Questions have been raised about the popularity of academic materials for nonacademic readers. However, when scholarly materials are available, they are also available to popularizers who can recontextualize them in unexpected and more accessible ways. Randall Munroe’s blog/comic What If uses open access scholarly and governmental documents to answer bizarre hypothetical questions submitted by his readers. His work is engaging, informative, and reaches a large audience. While members of the public may not rush to read open access scientific journals, their availability to writers like Munroe nevertheless contributes to better science education for the general public. Popularizers outside of academia benefit significantly from open access; so do their readers.
Foasberg, Nancy M., "Randall Munroe’s What If as a Test Case for Open Access in Popular Culture" (2015). CUNY Academic Works.