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Students Rally for Access to Publicly Funded Research

Published Feb 1, 2007

For immediate release
February 1, 2007

Contacts: 

Gavin Baker
Freeculture.org
grbaker@ufl.edu
(407) 929-5657

           Jennifer McLennan
SPARC
jennifer@arl.org
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121

Students Rally for Access to Publicly Funded Research
Campuses declare "National Day of Action" in support of federal legislation

WASHINGTON, DC - February 1, 2007 - Freeculture.org, the international student movement for free culture, in collaboration with the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), today announced that February 15, 2007 will be a "National Day of Action" for students that support open sharing of scientific and scholarly research findings on the Internet. Events nationwide will highlight the importance of taxpayer access to publicly funded research and rally support for Congressional passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act. The day also marks the fifth anniversary of the landmark Budapest Open Access Initiative, when the worldwide open access movement first took form, and will be supported by the launch of a new Web resource and petition for public access, produced jointly by freeculture.org and the ATA.

The Federal Research Public Access Act was introduced last year by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and is awaiting reintroduction in the 110th Congress. The bill would require federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from that research publicly available via the Internet. (For further information about the legislation, see /issues/frpaa/federal-research-public-access-act.shtml). It is estimated that approximately half of the research conducted at universities is government funded.

Freeculture.org and its 36 chapters nationwide joins 72 other members of the ATA, 132 university and college presidents and provosts, and thousands of taxpayers, patients, researchers, and librarians that have voiced support for the legislation.

"Students are researchers, and were among the first groups to recognize the vast benefits of open access," said Gavin Baker, director of freeculture.org's Open Access project and author of a University of Florida student senate resolution in support of the Cornyn-Lieberman public access bill (http://www.sg.ufl.edu/MeetingPDF%5C155.htm). "Since many of their professors, advisors, and colleagues have conducted their work with the benefit of federal grants, it makes sense that this work should be freely circulated and built upon.  Students have coordinated their efforts on a national level to formalize their strong belief that public access to research is the way to move forward."

"Improving access to government-funded research results is critical to advancing science," said David Minh, a University of California San Diego graduate student who serves on the coordinating committee for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. "Public access to research will not only benefit students and researchers in the United States, but will also empower scientists in the developing world - who have far fewer resources available to them - to accelerate the pace of biomedical research, particularly in neglected diseases."

"Students adding their considerable energy and significant weight to the momentum behind the issue is yet another sign of the strength and breadth of support for public access to research results," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, founder of the ATA). "We encourage universities, libraries, researchers, scholarly societies, patient organizations, and consumer groups to support student researchers in making the National Day of Action a success."

Campuses nationwide will be announcing individual events and support for the National Day of Action in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit the freeculture.org-Alliance for Taxpayer Access student resource at /supporters/students/students-for-taxpayer-access-to-federally-f.shtml

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The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing entities that support free public access to the results of federally funded research and advocate passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at www.taxpayeraccess.org.

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