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oa thumb Petition the White House for Open Journal AccessNormally I try, with varying degrees of success, to keep things pretty apolitical here.  But this is something I feel very strongly about and wanted to share with you all.  Whitehouse.gov has a new-ish “petitioning” feature that allows basically anyone to start a signature-collecting campaign which, upon reaching a certain number of clicks from registered users, will require an official response on the issue in question.  That may seem like weak cheese, but it does oblige the executive branch to publicly state a position, which can focus media attention, spark debate, and create windows for real policy change.

At issue is open access to scientific information gathered using tax dollars.   Which, in the US, is about a third of it.  If you’ve ever been hot on the trail of a technical lead and run up against a robot demanding $40 to download one four-page, twenty-year-old journal article, you know what I’m talking about.  Please take a minute, if you haven’t already and are so inclined, to go register an account and sign.  They’re just shy of 23,000 clicks, as of this writing, and need 2,000 more before June 19th.

Thanks.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


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