Open Access Petition (to scientific information derived from taxpayer- funded research)

In my endless, and some may say quixotic, quest for “Things We Can All Agree On” I offer a link to David Bruggeman’s blog Pasco Phronesis) post on the Open Access Petition. Below is a quote, and here is a link to David’s post. I recommend David’s blog to all interested in science policy.

I’m still mildly bemused that the expansion of open access seems to have found some traction, or at least many more vocal proponents, over the last few months. Such enthusiasm has been met by actions in the U.K., internationally, and by many universities and funding groups to increase the incentives to publish scientific research under various forms of open access publishing.

Now we have a petition on the We The People portion of the White House website. The full text (there’s a limit of 800 characters, vagueness of goals and realism of promises is not necessarily an indication of intent):

“Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.

“We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research.

“The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.”

Uploaded to the petition site on May 13, the petition hit the publicly searchable threshold this past weekend, and thanks to a concerted effort to publicize the petition, there are now over 17,000 signatures as of late on May 25. The petition will need 25,000 signatures by June 19 in order to get a response from the Administration. If the publicity keeps up, I suspect the goal will be met.

The petition was started by Access2Research, a personal campaign of a few open access advocates that has the support of many organizations sympathetic, if not outright supportive of the cause. The publicity campaign has been global, and there is no requirement that signers of We The People petitions be U.S. citizens (they do have to set up an account – no fair signing twice).

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