On May 20, 2012, the first signature was added to a new petition at whitehouse.gov:
We petition the Obama administration to Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.
The petition is part of a wider “open access” movement that has been growing increasingly organized and is receiving increasing media attention. Supporters of the petition are operating their own website now, and I am enthusiastically in support of opening up to the public the fruits of federally-funded research.
Now, as a recent Ph.D graduate, I know well the joy of having access to a good library system. Scholarly articles from the early 1900s all the way to pre-printed material can be accessed rapidly, for no additional cost, from any computer on a university network. Even better, articles that are not immediately accessible can be obtained through interlibrary loans within hours. Nothing is hidden and everything is accessible – the healthiest way for science to operate.
Outside the university there is only a fraction of the information available. Now I find myself unable to track through the references on a paper, blocked from digging into the most promising abstracts, and denied access to powerful search engines such as the Web of Knowledge.
Give tax-payers access to the research they paid for! Sign the petition!