[open-science] Student organizations call for Open Access to research

Gavin Baker gavin at gavinbaker.com
Wed Jun 10 17:47:49 UTC 2009


National student organizations call for Open Access to research

Washington, DC -- A coalition of national and regional college student
associations today issued a "Student Statement on the Right to
Research," calling on universities, research funders, and researchers to
take action in support of Open Access to research. The American Medical
Student Association, the Student PIRGs, Students for Free Culture, and
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, as well as the Trinity
University Association of Student Representatives and the California
Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council have signed the statement.

Students rely on access to academic journal literature for their
research and education. However, even before the recent economic crisis
many colleges have struggled with the high costs of journal
subscriptions, restricting access for students and scientists alike. The
statement reads, in part:

"Learning and inquiry are impeded when scholars lack access to fellow
researchers' work, and when students lack access to the work of scholars
before them.

At the same time, digital technologies have opened new opportunities for
research. New tools facilitate faster discoveries, speed the development
of new technologies, and accelerate the progress of science. Patients
could have access to the latest medical research, citizens could
evaluate scientific information on environmental impacts, and developing
countries could apply the most recent scholarship to public health and
development efforts. But access barriers leave these opportunities

Open Access is an alternative to the traditional closed,
subscription-access system of scholarly communication. Open Access makes
the results of scholarly research available online for free, immediately
upon publication, and removes barriers for scholarly and educational
re-use. Entire journals can be open-access, or an author can provide
Open Access to an individual article by posting a copy on an openly
accessible Web site.  All forms of open-access publication depend on
rigorous methods of quality control, including peer review."

The full text of the statement is online at http://www.righttoresearch.org.

"As both taxpayers and students, we deserve access to the research that
our tuition and tax dollars have financed," said Nick Shockey, recent
graduate and Student Senator at Trinity University in San Antonio. "Our
education should not be limited by the number of journal subscriptions
our library can afford -- a number that is drastically shrinking with
recession-induced budget cuts at universities across the country."

Laura Janneck of the American Medical Student Association added, "As
medical students, we need full access to the best and latest research to
have the most accurate and up-to-date education. As future doctors, we
know patients deserve access to the same research. Open Access ensures
that students, scientists, and the public can all access the best
information, to improve health, education, and scholarship."

"The student voice is growing louder, more clear, and more compelling in
the discussion on access to research," said Heather Joseph, Executive
Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources
Coalition). "Financial pressures are driving libraries, universities and
colleges, as well as students to more closely examine the return on
their investment in resources. Our young colleagues, whose education
relies on access to quality scholarship, are absolutely right to make
research access a focal cause." SPARC helped to coordinate discussions
that led to the launch of this statement and sponsors the statement Web

The "Student Statement on the Right to Research" closes with a call to
action -- urging universities, governments and other research funders,
researchers, and additional student organizations to support Open Access
-- and a commitment to back Open Access in their activities.

Student organizations are invited to sign the statement at

Gavin Baker
gavin at gavinbaker.com

In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything
false about hope.
    Barack Obama

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