In my first post here at Information Culture, I made the argument that in order for science to progress, the results of scientific studies must be shared with others.
One of the challenges facing scientists in the modern world is that this research is typically published in journals that individuals and libraries must pay to access, sometimes at exorbitant rates. Unfortunately, the costs associated with these journals often prevent patients, researchers and other folks from learning about new scientific findings.
However, since modern science is largely funded through taxpayer support (federal research grants, public universities, etc.) it seems logical that taxpayers should be able to access the research results they've already paid for.
Currently, research funded by the National Institute of Health must be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. A current petition at the White House website seeks to expand this requirement to research funded by other federal agencies (the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, etc.)
And today, you can make a stand for public access to publicly funded research.
From the folks at Access 2 Research comes the "Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research" White House petition.
Go ahead and check out the petition. They are looking for 25,000 signatures by June 19th.
Today, take five minutes of your time to say that yes, cancer patients, researchers, high school students and people around the country should be able to find out what their taxes already paid for.
Go now. Go. You'll be glad you did.