As I write this, the White House’s “We the People” petition on requiring online public access to scientific journal articles that arise from tax-payer funded research is nearing 21,000 signatures after only 10 days. This is great news; since the threshold to bring this to the formal attention of White House policy makers and require a official response is 25,000 signatures in 30 days, we are really getting close. But we still need slightly more than 4,000 people to sign for this to happen; I encourage you to consider signing the petition, if you haven’t yet, and to bring it to the attention to acquaintances who might be interested. For those who care about scientific progress, innovation, teaching and simply getting a reasonable return for the tax monies that are spent to support research, signing this petition should be an obvious step.
Public access to the results of federally-funded research is an especially appropriate issue for the White House to address in an election year, and we hope that this petition will lead to a robust discussion and concrete action. Offering a greater return on their investment in science to taxpayers ought to play well, of course. But so should the benefits of broadening and accelerating the audience for science, since those benefits include more innovation and jobs.
There is a nice short article about the reasons they support the petition on Wikimedia’s “News and Notes.”
To sign the petition you must create an account, which ensures fair play. All you need is your name and an e-mail address. Only you first name and last initial display on the petition, so there is no threat to privacy here. This is your chance to put a very worthwhile cause over the top.