Today we mobilize the forces of academic Freedom

I’m attaching a mail that’s going round the academic twittersphere – mobilizing everyone to sign a WhiteHouse (US) petition requiring that all federally funded research be made publicly available.

It’s a no-brainer. :

  • Find the site below
  • Sign
  • Mail this message to your contacts

Will it do any good?


Every bit of publicity is good and every indication of support helps. This isn’t asking you to occupy the streets. It’s simply, democratically, asking the US government to act.

The US government has been flooded with contrary bills from vested interests (SOPA, ACTA, RAW, etc.) and public opinion has killed some of them and is chopping off the hydra heads as they emerge. It is unsustainable.

Meanwhile we are now taking positive measures. It make sense to everyone except those with a narrow view of corporate power over material they haven’t produced and have little moral right to control.

S, in simple words:


The funders want this to happen.

The authors want this to happen

The readers (that’s YOU) want this to happen.

The #scholarlyPoor want this to happen.

It’s not revolution. It’s our right and our responsibility.



On *Monday, May 21*, we lodge a petition on the White House’s “We the People” page asking the Obama administration to require that all federally funded research be posted on the Web – extending the principle of the NIH policy to all federal agencies.

1. What We’re Asking

· Publicity/ Call for Participation.  Please help line up publicity for the petition before Monday.  Specifically, can you help get it on the front pages of Reddit, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Boing Boing, and send out an all-hands-on-deck request through your own blogs/twitter feeds, etc?

· 25,000 signatures in 30 days gets an official Administration response.  We want to hit that number fast to escalate this issue inside the White House.  We believe the policy has support but is stuck.  This could well be the event that gets it through.

· Please sign the petition on Monday.

2. Social Media links/handles

The official campaign website is at and there are already Facebook pages ( and Twitter handles (@access2research) in place. 

3. Petition Text (800 character limit)

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: [This doesn’t count toward the character count]

Require free access over the Internet to journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.

We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet would give access to entrepreneurs, researchers, patients, caregivers, and students, who currently are blocked by high costs. We know this works without disturbing the process of scientific publishing because the National Institutes of Health is already doing it through its highly successful Public Access Policy. All other federal agencies that fund research should have similar policies.

President Obama, please act now to make federally-funded research freely available to taxpayers on the Internet.

4. The Ask to Others

To sign the petition:

–   Have to be 13 years or older
–   Have to create an account on, which requires giving a name and an email address and then clicking the validation link sent to that address
–   Click to sign

5. Further Context


After years of work on promoting policy change to make federally-funded research available on the Internet, and after winning the battle to implement a public access policy at NIH, it has become clear that being on the right side of the issue is necessary but not sufficient. We’ve had the meetings, done the hearings, replied to the requests for information.

But we’re opposed in our work by a small set of publishers who profit enormously from the existing system, even though there is no evidence that the NIH policy has had any measurable impact on their business models. They can – and do – outspend those of us who have chosen to make a huge part of our daily work the expansion of access to knowledge. This puts the idea of access at a disadvantage. We know there is a serious debate about the extension of public access to taxpayer funded research going on right now in the White House, but we also know that we need more than our current  approaches to get that extension made into federal policy.

The best approach that we have yet to try is to make a broad public appeal for support, straight to the people. The Obama Administration has created a web platform to petition the White House directly called We The People. Any petition receiving more than 25,000 digital signatures is placed on the desk of the President’s Chief of Staff and must be integrated into policy and political discussions. But there’s a catch – a petition only has 30 days to gather the required number of signatures to qualify.

We can get 25,000 signatures. And if we not only get 25,000, but an order of magnitude more, we can change the debate happening right now.

Next week we will publish our petition and the 30 day cycle begins. What we’re asking you to do is to leverage your personal and professional networks to get the word out.

You can do this in any way that makes you feel comfortable. A blog post, an email to constituencies, a tweet, a facebook share, you name it – something that tells thousands of people “I support this petition, I’m signing this petition, and I thought you should know about it too.” Because this isn’t just slacktivism with a “like” or a retweet – people need to go to the White House website, enter their name and email address, and hit the button.

Qualified signers must be 13 years old or more, and have a valid email address. That’s all.

The goal is not just to get 25,000, but to get far more to show the White House that this issue matters to people, not just a few publishers.

We are launching the campaign on Monday May 21. The petition will go live late Sunday night May 20, so that the waves can start in the EU and sweep west with the sunrise. We’re asking you to turn on your networks on Monday morning.

Thanks for considering this. If we can all come together to get the word out at once, and stay behind it for 30 days, we have a real chance to get access to taxpayer funded research across the entire government, and send a signal that the people have a voice in this debate, not just publishers and activists.


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