Sign the petition!

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!

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