BioMed Central Blog : Why "We the People" should support open access 2012-05-31


“I don’t suppose that readers of a BioMed Central website need a long introduction to open access, so I’ll get right to the point: there’s a “We The People” petition active until June 19th, petitioning the Obama administration to provide public access to publicly funded research... You should go sign it, and then get all your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, enemies and random people on the street to sign it... Frequently asked questions ... For those who want a little more context, here are a few of the questions that have come up repeatedly during the week that the petition has been live... [Q] Do you have to be a US citizen to sign? [A] No, you don’t. You need only be 13 years of age and in possession of a valid email address... [Q] Does it stop gathering signatures at 25,000? [A] No – and the more signatures gathered, the better.  [Q] Why now? What’s the impetus for this? [A] In a word, momentum. Or, if you prefer, realpolitik. These are exciting times for open access. Recently, mathematicians were joined by other scholars in the Cost of Knowledge boycott, which was coordinated in response to the Research Works Act(RWA). We have learned that not even Harvard can keep up with the rising costs of access to the subscription literature; other universities are pushing back against price increases and even cancelling subscriptions; editors are resigning from toll-access editorial boards, and there has been an unusual amount of mainstream mediacoverage of the debate. There could be another RWA in the future, supported by well-funded lobbyists. The open access lobby can’t outspend, but we can go one better: we can take it to the people. The time is clearly ripe to demonstrate to the Obama administration, as they sort through priorities in the run-up to an election, that open access matters to the public. This was the insight that led to the petition; there is some context from the petition founders here, and a personal comment from one of the founders, John Wilbanks.  [Q] How does this work with military data and other information of national security importance? [A] The petition aims only at material that has already been published: information that anyone can have today. Decisions about whether or not to publish (e.g. because of national security concerns) are made before the policy contemplated by the petition ever takes effect... [Q] How does this work with patenting?  [A] As with military information, the petition aims only at information that researchers elect to publish – it has no effect on how or why they make that choice, so no one is going to lose a commercial opportunity because of the public access policy.  [Q] Wait, the NIH already has a public access policy, it says so right there in the petition– what research is this aimed at? [A] The US government funds a lot of research that isn’t covered by the NIH! ... [Q] I’m not a scientist – why do I care about this? [A] Firstly, because you want value for your money as a taxpayer. The costs of publishing are part of the costs of research, and the open access model has been shown to provide a better return on investment for funders of research than the subscription model. Taxpayers should be able to read research they paid f


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Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.licensing oa.mining oa.comment oa.usa oa.legislation oa.rwa oa.nih oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.boycotts oa.elsevier oa.copyright oa.libraries oa.crowd oa.patents oa.lay oa.bmc oa.harvard.u oa.budgets oa.encouragement oa.cancellations oa.resignations oa.patientslikeme oa.access2research oa.libre oa.journals

Date tagged:

05/31/2012, 12:18

Date published:

05/31/2012, 08:18