Make Taxpayer-Funded Research Available to the Public

Target: British Science Minister David Willets

Goal: Support England’s plans to make publicly-funded scientific research available for free online

A new movement in England aims to make publicly funded scientific research more accessible to the general public. Research projects, including those that are funded in large part by taxpayer money, are now published in scientific journals and sold back to universities and individuals at high rates. The move, which is being called the most radical shakeup in academic publishing since the invention of the Internet, would post the research findings online making them free to access for all interested parties all over the world.

The movement is supported in large part by academics and universities who pay high annual prices for subscriptions to these academic journals, and are often required to pass the cost onto students.  However, many complaints have come to the surface recently about how funding for these open access journals will be generated.  It appears that the brunt of the funding for the transition (around £50 million) would be covered using the pre-existing science budget and no additional funding sources would be found. These costs will likely fall on research-intensive universities; however, this is a small price to pay for free access to a bounty of scientific research.

It is an undoubtedly unethical practice to have taxpayers fund this scientific research, and then turn around and charge them to see it. It is hoped that if the UK were to institute such a change, the European Union and the United States would follow suit. Sign this petition and let the British government know that you support open access to taxpayer funded academic research.


Dear Mr. David Willets,

Your initiative towards open access for taxpayer funded scientific research would allow for a much wider and more effective use of the resulting findings. With academic universities and other institutions being able to apply this information without the high costs, students and individuals would be able to expand on and cite these findings more widely.  The research would not only be more accessible, it would be more useful.

Because so much of this research focuses on disease eradication and food security, the published findings are important worldwide. These subjects will be imperative in coming years, and it is likely that projects conducted and published through this system could be groundbreaking, and hopefully serve as catalysts for further research. We support your move towards open access for development research, and hope that other countries around the world begin to do the same.


[Your Name Here]

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40 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
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  • Lynn Juozilaitis
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