[OKFN-IN] 25, 000 Advocates Urge White House to Open Taxpayer-Funded Research to Everyone

Sridhar Gutam gutam2000 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 5 06:18:38 UTC 2012

For Immediate Release
June 4, 2012

For more information, contact:
Andrea Higginbotham
andrea at arl.org
(202) 296-2296

*25,000 Advocates Urge White House to *
*Open Taxpayer-Funded Research to Everyone*
“We the People Petition” hits 25,000 signatures in just two weeks

Washington, DC – June 4, 2012  - The movement to make
taxpayer-funded research freely available online hit a new milestone on
Sunday when advocates hit their goal of 25,000 signatures to a “We the
People” petition to the Obama administration. The petition, created by
Access2Research (a group of Open Access advocates, including SPARC’s
Executive Director, Heather Joseph), requests that President Obama make
taxpayer-funded research freely available.

According to the petition site’s rules, any petition securing 25,000
signatures within 30 days will be sent to the White House Chief of Staff,
and will receive an official response. The Open Access petition hit the
25,000 mark in half the allotted time.

“The community is fully engaged in sending a clear message to the
Administration – access to taxpayer-funded information is in the public’s
interest, and they want it now,” said Heather Joseph, SPARC’s Executive

The petition says: “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.”

The Open Access mandate builds on the National Institutes of Health’s
policy, noting that that agency’s experience “proves that this can be
done without disrupting the research process,” urging the president “to act
now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund
scientific research.”

John Wilbanks, Senior Fellow in entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion
Kauffman Foundation and one of the creators of the petition believes that
the fast uptake by the public signals a new pace in the Open Access debate.
“Opening access to taxpayer-funded research is no longer a policy
discussion happening away from researchers, scientists and
taxpayers. People are now fully part of the conversation, and that changes

“The next step is for the White to House to issue an official response,”
said Mike Rossner, Executive Director at The Rockefeller University Press
and an original sponsor of the petition. “Our hope is that they will act
quickly and will require expansion of the successful NIH policy to all
other major U.S. federal funding agencies.”

A number of key organizations outside the academic community endorsed the
petition. The Wikimedia Foundation endorsed the petition and included a
feature article on its Wikipedia’s English Homepage. Patients advocacy
groups from Patients Like Me to the Avon Foundation promoted the
petition to their members, as did a variety of publishers,
university libraries, commercial companies and advocacy organizations.

For further information on the petition, its sponsors and
supporting organizations see the SPARC website at http://www.arl.org/sparc and
the Access2Reserach website at http://access2research.org/.


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with
SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800
academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of
scholarly communication. SPARC’s advocacy, educational, and publisher
partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is
on the Web at http://www.arl.org/sparc/.
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