As others have noted, there is now an online petition in support of public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The text of the petition is short:
We, the undersigned, believe that broad dissemination of research results is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge. For America’s taxpayers to obtain an optimal return on their investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible. Yet too often, research results are not available to researchers, scientists, or the members of the public. Today, the Internet and digital technologies give us a powerful means of addressing this problem by removing access barriers and enabling new, expanded, and accelerated uses of research findings.
We believe the US Government can and must act to ensure that all potential users have free and timely access on the Internet to peer-reviewed federal research findings. This will not only benefit the higher education community, but will ultimately magnify the public benefits of research and education by promoting progress, enhancing economic growth, and improving the public welfare.
We support the re-introduction and passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act, which calls for open public access to federally funded research findings within six months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
For U.S. residents, this just strikes me as common sense — our taxpayer dollars paid once for the research to be conducted, we shouldn’t have to pay for it again to actually see the results. If commercial publishers want to make money by adding value to the raw output of the research process, that’s fine. But the raw output (including the pro bono effort of those contributing to the peer review process — meaning a SHERPA RoMEO blue status) should be available to all.
Note that this is different from the recent European Union petition of the same sort. If you signed that petition, take a look at this one as well.
I have signed the petition. I hope you will read it, and if you agree sign the petition as well.