From The Library Channel/ May 2012:
U.S. Government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are some of the most important sources of funding for scholarly research. As with all aspects of government, the grants these agencies provide come from taxes collected from U.S. citizens. However, the results of this research are usually communicated through articles published in journals that require a subscription or fee to access. This means that this knowledge is restricted to those who can pay to read it, either through their place of employment or education or their private funds. Taxpayers are being asked to pay twice for the same research- first to conduct it and then again to learn the results.
In 2006, the NIH implemented a public access policy which required all recipients of NIH funding to deposit the final copy of their research articles in a free, publicly-accessible database called PubMed Central. Since the implementation of this requirement, PubMed Central has become a valuable source of reliable scientific research with over 2.4 million articles and receives over 500,000 visits per day.
Currently a petition calling for public access to all federally funded research is posted on whitehouse.gov. This petition seeks to build on the success of the NIH public access policy by expanding it to all federally funded science agencies. The belief driving this petition is that all taxpayers should be able to access the results of the research they fund. This would greatly benefit everyone: students, teachers, researchers, patients, and entrepreneurs. Open access to federally funded research increases the global reach and impact of that research through ease of discovery. It allows scholars to have access to the most current research activities in their field and encourages innovative, interdisciplinary approaches.
If you believe that the White House should expand the NIH public access policy to all U.S. Federal Science Agencies and promote public access to taxpayer-funded research, go to whitehouse.gov before June 19 and sign the petition. If the petition garners 25,000 signatures, it will be submitted to the White House for an official administrative response.
For more information, visit Access2research.org.