If you don’t have time to read this entire blog post, here’s the tl;dr version: if you think, as I do, that the investment we make in basic research should be maximized through making that research accessible to all, sign the petition.
If you’d like to know more, here’s why I think this petition is worth signing.
I’m a huge fan of PubMed Central. Just the other day, a student was desperate to find an article quickly – any article, so long as it presented original scientific research on a particular species of tree. Normally, I would have pointed her to a biology database, but our library is small and that database’s coverage is deep, so she would have had to click through lots and lots of articles before finding any in full text or print in our library. I showed her PubMed Central and she had several articles to choose from, all full text, within seconds.
Even better, when she graduates, she can still search PubMed Central and read those articles. We are required by almost all of our licenses to cut students off the minute they graduate. What a great way to prepare students for lifelong learning: get them hooked on scholarly research, then show them the door.