Elliott Harmon of Creative Commons, in this recent blog post, highlights a few initiatives calling for Open Access to research.
One such example is a Washington Post opinion piece by Matt Cooper and Elizabeth Wiley. Cooper and Wiley, from the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students and the American Medical Student Association respectively, which suggests that federally funded research should be freely accessible over the Internet. They argue that when students lose their access to academic databases after graduation, society doesn’t get the same benefits it could from that research:
Students’ library cards are a passport to the specialized knowledge found in academic journal articles — covering medicine and math, computer science and chemistry, and many other fields. These articles contain the cutting edge of our understanding and capture the genius of what has come before. In no uncertain terms, access to journals provides critical knowledge and an up-to-date education for tomorrow’s doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs.
But should that access cease at graduation? Or would you rather a graduating medical student, perhaps your future doctor, be able to keep up with the latest advances? Would you rather an ambitious graduate student feel comfortable leaving the academy to found the next Google, knowing she still has access to the latest insight in her field and is able to build upon it?
The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students and the American Medical Student Association joined Creative Commons and many other allies in support of a petition on Whitehouse.gov for free access to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research, which quickly reached its goal of 25,000 signatures.