“A storm is coming.” – It’s the classic line you’ll hear in any film right before some epic battle between humans, orcs, wizards, and you name it. In the world of academic publishing today, one could also say – a storm is coming. In what has been an uphill battle against some very wealthy and powerful interests, it looks like 2012 will feature some major victories for open access publishing, chief among them, official support from the White House.
In an article for the Guardian this week, Dr. Mike Taylor pointed out the importance of a whitehouse.gov petition urging the President Obama to “act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.” It is within his power and reportedly of great interest to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, to implement a policy that all publicly funded research should be made available through open access journals. If the petition succeeds, the US executive branch would be following in the footsteps of the European Union, which has already promised to make upcoming research results (which are publicly funded) available free of charge. In the UK there have also been steps in this direction from key scientific institutions.
Petitions are always a tricky area as its not clear now respected they will be by authorities. But in this special case it is known that the Obama administration is sympathetic to the cause, which gives this petition a chance at tipping the scales and triggering the change many have been waiting for. Such a move would inspire some hesitant institutions into action, to finally give open access journals and content the respect they deserve.
For those who are interested, you can sign the petition here, you needn’t be an American citizen… this is a global cause.
Source: The Guardian