It is always a hot topic and especially so in the States, of who has the right to access the results from research funded by the public, for the public. The petition, requiring free access over the Internet to journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research, aims to escalate the issue inside the White House, as 25,000 signatures in 30 days gets an official Administration response.
“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.”
This is how the Access2Research petition addresses the public, choosing the approach of a broad public appeal for support, straight to the people. This petition is made possible by the Obama Administration, who have created a web platform to petition the White House directly called We The People. Any petition receiving more than 25,000 digital signatures is placed on the desk of the President’s Chief of Staff and must be integrated into policy and political discussions. In order to qualify, however, the petition must gather the signatures in 30 days.
So far, so good. Only two days into the appeal, and the petition is over 6000-strong. People are sharing the news on social networks and relevant websites, making it more likely that the petition will not only make it to the Chief of Staff’s office, but make a substantial impact and potentially change the debate happening right now.
It is important to point out that the initiative is by no way limited to US citizens. Any open access supporter is invited to sign the petition, it is only required that they register at the White House page with a valid email.