Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, June 4, 2012

White House petition seeks action on open access

A petition on the White House website We the People urging the Obama administration "to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research" continues the growing effort to expand unfettered access to research and scholarship.


View the petition on the White House website We the People.

The petition, which has gathered more than the 25,000 that will trigger a review and response from the White House, has prompted a call to action by the Association of Research Libraries.

Paul Courant, university librarian and dean of libraries, is encouraging the campus community to consider signing the petition and to spread the word. “Social media outlets are being used to great effect in this effort,” he says. “And the issue of public access to publications that result from taxpayer funded research matters to everyone.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the petition was begun by John Wilbanks, a senior fellow in entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Michael W. Carroll, a professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law; Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or Sparc; and Mike Rossner, executive director of Rockefeller University Press.

The petition arrives in the wake of a widely publicized boycott of the journal publisher Elsevier, driven in part by the company’s support (since withdrawn) for the Research Works Act, now moribund legislation that would have prohibited the policies advocated by the petition. In February of this year, a group of chief academic officers, among them U-M Provost Phil Hanlon, published an essay “Values and Scholarship,” encouraging faculty and administrators to adopt policies and practices that reflect the scholarly value of openness.