A new article in ‘Autism Research’ describes the disparities in access to autism screening and diagnosis that exist across the world. Most research on autism occurs in high income countries, which account for less than 20% of the world’s population. The vast majority of individuals with autism live in low and middle income countries, where access to gold- standard diagnostic tools and evidence-based practices is quite limited due to high costs and copyright issues that preclude translation. To close the knowledge gap and decrease this global imbalance, the authors advocate adoption of ‘open source’ practices such as free screening and diagnostic tools that can be shared and modified, and open access copyrights in which publications can be reproduced and distributed at no cost. In addition to improving global welfare, these practices can bolster our scientific efforts to understand autism across cultures.
This commentary was developed following a meeting sponsored by Autism Speaks and the International Society for Autism Research last October. Dr. Stone is happy to have been invited to this conference and to have contributed to this article.
Following in the spirit of its message, the article was published as open source, which allows us to share the full article download with you!