When Tim Gowers, Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University on January 21 this year made an appeal to his colleagues to boycott Elsevier, that call was so successful, that the list currently counts over 11,000 signatures. More and more scientists seem to finally realize that something can be done against the extremely high cost of subscriptions to scientific journals and the inaccessibility of scientific information, namely NOT PUBLISH [in these journals] and a mandatory requirement for open access.
But open access is not just important for scientists. Many other groups need access to information, for instance patient groups, teachers, entrepreneurs, nurses, politicians, development organizations and many others.
This week Monday has seen the launch of a major campaign for open access to government funded research in the US. The access2 research group has started a petition to the White House in order to achieve a minimum of 25,000 public votes on the WEthePEOPLE site. After 4 days the petition has already over 15,000 signatures.
The importance of this petition cannot be underestimated. The Obama administration has committed itself to take action in matters where 25,000 signatures are given to a petition to the White House within 30 days. The action in the case of open access could for instance be a presidential directive that all state financed research must be published open access. When this would happen (and it is very likely that something like this will happen) this could have as effect that many more governments will follow the example. Already today on May 24, Argentina has issued a directive for open access to all government funded research there, so the campaign is already having effect outside of the US.
A very important point to make about this campaign is that THE PETITION CAN BE SIGNED BY ANYONE over 13 years in age with an email address, and from all parts of the world. So by signing this petition YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The more signatures there are , the louder the message will be and the more chance there will be for rapid change.
Please sign and tell your colleagues, family, friends that they can sign too.
HELP TO MAKE OPEN ACCESS A WORLDWIDE STANDARD FOR PUBLISHING SCIENCE