Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, January 29, 2007

Who's signing the European OA petition?

There are now over 12,000 signatures on the petition for guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research results.  The statistics page (last updated yesterday) gives a good glimpse of the first 10,000 or so.  As of yesterday, the petition had 9,850 signatures from individuals and 450 from institutions.  7,737 are from EU countries, a desirable majority since the petition is addressed to the European Commission.  Of the individual signatories, 7,825 are researchers and 1,457 are librarians.  The organizers tell me that the signatures include Nobel laureates, major funding agencies like the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, DFG, and CNRS, major research universities, and groups of university rectors. 

NB:  The petition is still open and all signatures are welcome.  However, signatures are most needed from European researchers and European research institutions. If you haven't signed, please sign ASAP.  And then spread the word.

Update.  See today's petition update from JISC:

...Nobel laureates Harold Varmus and Rich Roberts are among the more than ten thousand concerned researchers, senior academics, lecturers, librarians, and citizens from across Europe and around the world who are signing an internet petition calling on the European Commission to adopt polices to guarantee free public access to research results and maximise the worldwide visibility of European research.

Organisations too are lending their support, with the most senior representatives from over 500 education, research and cultural organisations in the world adding their weight to the petition, including CERN, the UK's Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Italian Rector's Conference, the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts & Sciences (KNAW) and the Swiss Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW), alongside the petition's sponsors, SPARC Europe, JISC, the SURF Foundation, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Danish Electronic Research Library (DEFF)....

The EC will host a meeting in Brussels in February to discuss its position regarding widening access and the petition is intended to convey the overwhelming level of public support for the recommendations of the EC study.

JISC Executive Secretary Dr Malcolm Read, said: 'Maximising public investment in European research and making more widely available its outputs are key priorities for the European Union as it seeks to enhance the global standing of European research and compete in a global market. JISC is proud to be sponsoring a petition which seeks these vital goals and which has already attracted such widespread support.'

One of the petition's signatories, Richard J Roberts, Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine in 1993, said: "Open access to the published scientific literature is one of the most desirable goals of our current scientific enterprise. Since most science is supported by taxpayers it is unreasonable that they should not have immediate and free access to the results of that research. Furthermore, for the research community the literature is our lifeblood. By impeding access through subscriptions...we have allowed the commercial sector to impede progress. It is high time that we rethought the model and made sure that everyone had equal and unimpeded access to the whole literature. How can we do cutting edge research if we don't know where the cutting edge is?" ...