Tuesday, May 22, 2012

White House Petition for Free Internet Access to Scientific Journal Articles Funded by Taxes

If you are eligible to create a whitehouse.gov account and believe that citizens should have the right to free internet access to journal articles funded by taxpayers, here is a petition asking for exactly that.

This seems like a fair deal, and it certainly should be easy enough to implement in practice.

Indeed, it should extend far beyond the US, to all countries where taxpayers support research -- which would surely be all countries.

To my mind, an interesting question would be how to extend the same principle to books. At present, if you are lucky and/or discreet, you can push PDFs of book proofs into public space. But many publishers would not like it. Yet, a very high proportion of books must be funded to a significant -- if not total -- extent out of taxpayer contributions.

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