If you’re tired of blog posts about open science, sorry dude—but it feels great to be part a group of blogging nerds who, for once, are actually having a nonzero (and positive, I think!) impact on the political process. Yesterday, Elsevier, which had been the biggest supporter of the noxious Research Works Act, announced, under pressure from the “Cost of Knowledge” movement, that it was dropping its support for RWA. Only hours later, Elsevier’s paid cheerleaders in Congress, Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), announced that they were shelving the RWA for now. See this hilarious post by physicist John Baez, which translates Issa and Maloney’s statement on why they’re letting the RWA die into ordinary English sentence-by-sentence.
But it gets better: Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) has introduced a sort of anti-RWA, the Federal Research Public Access Act (or easily-pronounced FRPAA), which would require federal agencies with budgets of over $100 million to make the research they sponsor freely available less than 6 months after its publication in a peer-reviewed journal (thereby expanding the NIH’s successful open-access policy). If you’re a US citizen, and you care about the results of taxpayer-funded medical and other research being accessible to the public, then please sign this petition telling President Obama you support the FRPAA. Tell your coworker, husband, wife, grandmother, etc. to sign it too. Apparently the President will personally review it if it gets to 25,000 signatures by March 9.
And if you’re not a US citizen: that’s cool too! Support open-access initiatives in your country. (Or, if you live someplace like Syria, support the prerequisite “not-getting-shot” initiatives.) Just don’t have a cow about my blogging American issues from time to time, like this easily-offended Aussie did over on Cosmic Variance.