I strongly believe that Americans and ALSO people who are not American citizens should sign the White House petition for making US-taxpayer-funded-research papers openly available on the internet.
I say this as someone who was a proud-as-can-be Canadian citizen and nothing else for 36 years (how proud? “Prime Minister” of the Canadian Club at MIT in undergrad. We showed Canadian movies! I plastered the campus with Canadian flag posters! I cooked Nanaimo bars!), and a proud Canadian+American citizen for the last two.
- You can. The White House petition site allows it. They didn’t have to allow it: they could have made you check a checkbox saying that you were a US citizen. Instead, they decided to welcome everyone who is 13 or older and has an email address. So if they want to hear from you, why censor yourself?
- It won’t hurt. No one knows how many people who are signing are US citizens, so any attempted critiques based on that are flawed. If you don’t sign, the number is one less than it would be otherwise, that’s all. Since the designers of the site allow non-US citizens to sign, (n-1) signatures is not any better than (n) signatures, since anyone’s guess about proportion is just a guess either way. [edited]
- It is the only way forward. If everyone waited for their country to go first so that they could endorse other countries’ mandates on the basis of fair turn-around, we’d never get started.
- It is only fair. Other countries are making promises of mandates that will benefit the US public and US researchers. So it is only fair for the US to join in.
- It will help. Big numbers will drive US action. And US action will help drive action in other countries. As John Dupuis says at the bottom of his recent post:
if the US follows this path it creates a precedent for other nations as well. Currently the Canadian federal government is not fertile ground for advancing anything related to science or knowledge, but if enough pressure is exerted and enough precedents are set, then who knows what can come of it. And this is not to mention the many more enlightened nations who may be influenced to adopt a similar policy based on an example set by the US.
And, let’s face it: the USA does a WHOLE LOT OF THINGS without asking the opinion of the rest of the world, and we love to bitch about it. So. This time, be part of the decision, make your voice heard. It affects the whole world. Lobby Obama. Sign it and spread the word.