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White House Petition For Open Access To Research 60

dstates writes "You paid for it, you should be able to read the results of publicly funded research. The National Institutes of Health have had a very successful open access mandate requiring that the results of federally funded biomedical research be published in open access journals. Now there is a White House petition to broaden this mandate. This is a jobs issue. Startups and midsize business need access to federally funded technology research. It is a health care issue, patients and community health providers need access, not a few scientists in well funded research institutes, and even wealthy institutions like Harvard are finding the prices of proprietary journals unsustainable."
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White House Petition For Open Access To Research

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  • Wonderful! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @03:24PM (#40068255) Homepage Journal
    Now we can have a nice, bullshit, boilerplate response to a legitimate question!

    Seriously, is anyone still falling for this obvious scam?
  • I don't agree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThorGod ( 456163 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @03:27PM (#40068295) Journal
    "This is a jobs issue. Startups and midsize business need access to federally funded technology research"

    Yeah, sure, it's nice that businesses hire people that can read and I'm sure they do important work. Blah blah blah.

    This is a public good. We're talking about basic research funded with public funds. Everyone who pays taxes should have access to works published from that funding (within reason). (Maybe if you don't pay US taxes you shouldn't have access, but that's a point for another time.)

    To be specific, science should communicated to the public. I don't mean that the public should be viewed as having a "say" in what gets studied/published or not - that's for peer review and ethics boards. Feynman talks about how important this is. If your hypothesis can't ever be communicated to someone outside the discipline, then just maybe it's not a sound hypothesis. (I'm not sure he said that exactly, but that's as I see things.)
  • Who pays for it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarstu ( 720435 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @03:30PM (#40068347)
    I would be in full support of this mandate as long as it includes a provision that all federal research funding must also pay for publishing costs. I am a big fan of open-access journals, but the reality is that many of them are very expensive to publish in. For example, authors are charged almost $3,000 to publish a single article in PLoS Biology. For many researchers who are working off of limited grants, that price makes publishing in those journals impossible. In contrast, many "closed" journals have no costs to the authors because publishing costs are covered by subscription fees. I absolutely do want to see a larger migration to open-access publishing, but I also don't want "open access" mandates to forget about who actually pays for publication.
  • Re:What is a scam? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @03:45PM (#40068523)

    The scam is you will get some bullshit answer and no matter what you will not change their opinion.

    This entire thing is a huge waste of time.

  • Re:What is a scam? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ffflala ( 793437 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @07:52PM (#40071281)

    The scam is you will get some bullshit answer and no matter what you will not change their opinion.

    This common sentiment is frustrating to hear. It always comes from people who seem to expect fast, precise responses from lumbering institutions and bureaucracies that necessarily move at a far slower pace.

    Nothing big gets changed quickly. You'll never sign the one petition that finally sends things over the top, and hell while we're at it, sure your single vote doesn't really matter all that much, in the grand scheme.

    Big change takes time, years, sometimes decades or even generations. Several Congresses will hold hearings, and publish reports that you and most everyone else (including those who "report" on it) will never read, material posted in the Congressional Journals or the Federal Register.

    Major change requires the continuous input from multiple voices. It requires above all else persistence. If you expect that you will be able to change a federal law as easily as you can post on /., then yes you will be disappointed. That is not the useful purpose of these petitions. The purpose is to continue to increase the visibility of this issue.

    Pot's been illegal for a long time. However, in the past decades we have made huge, dramatic legal changes in terms of medical marijuana. Things are changing pretty dramatically -- legal in 17 states now, a number of cities have deprioritized its enforcement, and it's getting increasingly staid and conservative people to endorse it. Only because the issue has become this visible in fact, can now even a New York Supreme Court Judge (somewhat) comfortably admit publicly to his own medical marijuana use. []

    Even still, it is going to take a lot more petitioning brush-offs to get there -- including ongoing efforts to petition, where the short term result effort seems to fall flat. These things do add up over time, they have been. The result you want to aim for isn't an immediate response (as great as that would be), rather it is to keep the discussion as prominent as possible.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban