We the undersigned American scientists, publishers, funders, patient advocates, librarians and members of the public endorse a national policy that would ensure that Americans are no longer denied access to the results of research their tax dollars paid for. We have read recent media reports that the executive branch is considering a zero embargo taxpayer access policy, and we are writing to express our strong support for such a move.
Requiring scientists to make publications arising from taxpayer funded research immediately available to the public will quicken the pace of research and innovation. It will bring the benefits of America’s massive investment in basic and applied science to our citizens and companies faster and more effectively than the obsolete system in place today. And it has the potential to save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year.
For too long the government has allowed science journals to lock the results of taxpayer funded research behind paywalls - often for years - making scientists, doctors and their patients, teachers and their students, farmers, and owners of small and large businesses pay to read information their tax dollars paid to produce. This is a terrible deal for America, and American taxpayers.
We have read the letter from a group of publishers and scientific societies complaining about a possible government policy that would finally provide taxpayers access to these articles. Of course they hate it: these organizations have been taking billions of dollars from the government for years without providing anything approaching appropriate value in return.
They claim they need to lock up taxpayer-funded research in order to pay for peer review. But the reality is that the costs of overseeing peer review can be covered without paywalls or embargoes that keep research away from the people who paid for and need it. There are now many thriving, multi-million dollar businesses that publish peer reviewed journals that already fully comply with a zero embargo taxpayer access policy, and this policy would inspire the creation of many more.
Opponents of taxpayer access would have you believe that a zero embargo policy would be a regulatory intrusion into the free market. But the truth is the exact opposite. These companies are afraid of going head to head with the far more efficient businesses that already provide zero embargo taxpayer access, and are seeking protection from free market competition.
The organizations that signed the letter opposing this policy claim that in doing so they represent the interests and views of scientists. This could not be farther from the truth. Most scientists - including most members of the societies that signed the opposing letter - believe that removing barriers to accessing the research they produce will benefit science and the public. We are confident that a zero embargo taxpayer access policy will be successful and receive widespread acclaim.
- Maya Lemmon-Kishi, Graduate Student, UC Berkeley
- Alannah Lejeune, PhD student biomedical science , NYU Langone
- Shantanu Jain, Software Engineer, Quora
- Erin Bray, Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas
- Dr. Carol Chiodo, Librarian for Collections and Digital Scholarship, Harvard University
- Eve Schneider, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky
- Ben Hemphill, Computer Engineer, Cerner Corporation
- Justin White, Librarian, UT Rio Grande Valley
- Mikhail Rudoy, Researcher in Computer Science, Currently unaffiliated
- Vivian Neilley, Biologist , Google
- Jessie Liu, Graduate Student, UCSF
- Scott Chamberlain, Scientific Software, rOpenSci, UC Berkeley
- Wendy Woodward, Physician-Scientist, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Cory Miller, Metal fab/design, Twitter
- Craig Southern, Parent of multiple children
- Samuel Ainsworth, Computer scientist, University of Washington
- Srey Pich, Media, Employer
- Maelle Andre, Interest
- Ed Garvin, Ecology, Citizen
- Sojol, Business, Business study
And 3269 others - see complete list here.
Sign the Letter