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up with access to information

maura @ 10:33 pm

I have never done this before, but I just sent an email to a big list of family and friends asking them to sign a petition in support of open access to federally-funded research. I’m not a spammer, I promise! I just feel very strongly about this issue.

Here’s what I sent:

Dear family and friends,

Apologies for this mass email, but I’d like to ask your help with a cause that I believe is very important. There’s a petition that began recently to ask the White House to require academic and scientific research funded by federal dollars to be made available for all to read free of charge. This is called open access publishing, and support for open access has been growing in the scholarly and library community over the past several decades.

Publishing used to be an expensive endeavor, but costs have plummeted thanks to the internet. However, a small number of huge corporate publishers still control access to the bulk of academic and scientific research results in the journals that they publish and sell to universities and other institutions, even research that taxpayers fund. Many of these publishers rake in profits of 30% (profits!), even during the recent recession. When research is published open access everyone — students, patients, researchers who don’t work at a wealthy university, you, and me — can read it free of charge. And while it’s unlikely that research results published by librarians like me will save someone’s life, consider the medical knowledge locked up behind corporate paywalls, or scientific research on climate change or other critical issues we face today.

For more details about the issues surrounding open access publishing, fellow advocates have put together a nice, short video that I wholeheartedly recommend:, and a great website:

To join me in supporting open access to federally-funded research, head over to the White House website: Click the “Create an account” blue button to sign up with your name and email address, then head back to this page and click the green “Sign this petition” button. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. The petition has until June 19th to reach 25K signatures, which guarantees an official response from the Administration (which is currently considering a bill called the Federal Research Public Access Act). I’d be ever so grateful if you’d sign it!

Please feel free to share this with others, too! Thanks for listening, and please feel free to ask me any questions about open access publishing, I’m always happy to chat nerdily about it.

Take care,

les tags: ,

one comment on “up with access to information”

Anne (27 May 2012 at 8:20 am)

Who knows, maybe you could save a life! Good luck!

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