A petition calling for public access to all federally funded research posted last month on the White House’s “We the People” website has garnered the 25,000 signatures necessary to be considered for action by the Obama Administration.
“It at least puts the issue in front of the president’s staff for consideration. The response could be as weak as a simple acknowledgement, or as strong as a policy statement or directive,” petition leader and executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition Heather Joseph, told Scientific American in a recent interview.
The open access movement has continued to gain momentum since the petition was first posted on May 21. That same day, the academic senate of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) voted unanimously to require faculty to make all current and future scientific articles that they publish available immediately through an open-access repository.
“The petition and the mechanism of the ‘We the people’ site has enabled us to show that it is a policy item that generates public interest, but more importantly it creates an opportunity for the White House to respond. It is worth noting that this has been one of the more successful petitions. Reaching the 25k mark in two weeks is a real achievement, and one that has got the attention of key people,” Cameron Neylon, biophysicist and advocacy director at the Public Library of Science, wrote on his blog “Science in the Open.”