Americans support free access to research

May 31, 2006

In an online survey of public attitudes conducted recently and released today by Harris Interactive, 8 out of 10 (82%) adults polled said they believe that “if tax dollars pay for scientific research, people should have free access to the results of the research on the Internet.”

In addition, six out of 10 (62%) adults believe that if these research results are easily available (for free and online), it will help speed up finding potential cures for diseases.

These findings from the Harris Poll, one of the longest running independent opinion polls in the United States, underscore broad agreement among diverse sectors of the American public on the benefits of free access to research. The original survey findings are available at www.harrisinteractive.com/news/.

“This expression of support from the American public demonstrates that the demand for public access has reached a critical juncture,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an ATA founding member). “As scientists work to counter the Avian flu, develop energy alternatives, and grapple with climate change, public access to taxpayer-funded research is more important than ever. The public recognizes its stake in open sharing of research, and the Harris data gives voice to their stand.”

“The poll results show that research must be a collaborative, informed process between investigators and the public to be successful and increase trust,” said Robert Reinhard, community advisor to NIH's AIDS vaccine trials. “Time and again the lesson is that improved knowledge in the community furthers the public health agenda.”

In another strong signal of broad support for public access, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) recently introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (S.2695). The bill requires federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from their research publicly available via the Internet. ATA supports this measure and provides information and materials related to the legislation at www.taxpayeraccess.org.


Explore further: Was it unethical to hoax the world about chocolate as a weight loss 'accelerator'?

Related Stories

'Deep web search' may help scientists

May 25, 2015

When you do a simple Web search on a topic, the results that pop up aren't the whole story. The Internet contains a vast trove of information—sometimes called the "Deep Web"—that isn't indexed by search ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria renew mystery over Chilean poet Neruda's death

May 28, 2015

Family of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda said Thursday forensic experts have found evidence of a massive bacterial infection in his remains, increasing their suspicion that he was poisoned by dictator Augusto Pinochet's regime.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.