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Petition for Access to Publicly Funded Research

There’s a petition floating around to require that any scientific publication that comes from public funds be made available for free to the public. This seems like a pretty good idea, but of course I’m skeptical of anything that requires anybody to do anything.

Looking into this more, however, this petition seems restrained and reasonable. It doesn’t require unpublished or proprietary findings to be made public, or for the entire research process to happen in the open. Only accepted scientific publications will be opened up. The petition references the NIH Public Access program, which requires that research be made public within 12 months after it’s been accepted to a journal.

These requirements are pretty light. I don’t think they would scare anybody away from taking public research funds as published papers aren’t secret, and organizations that make their livings off of selling scientific articles would still be able to do so for the first 12 months. After 12 months, all those that really need to be able to keep up to date on research will have it anyway, so why not make it public?

This seems to further the public knowledge without burdening anybody at all. I think I’ll sign.

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