With the increasingly prohibitive cost to access scientific journal articles and the significant amount of research that is funded by the U.S. government, many scientists and taxpayers support measures that increase public access to the results of federally funded research. This “open access” movement aims to establish a policy for federally-funded research to become publicly accessible after an established period of time post-publication, usually within one year. Because this research is funded by U.S. taxpayers, we believe that it is reasonable to expect free access to the fruits of our investment.
Furthermore, in addition to enabling taxpayers to have access to research that they have funded, open access policies enhance opportunities for innovation in this country by allowing more people to utilize existing research. Small businesses, startups, and independent inventors often cannot afford expensive journal subscription packages but would use relatively recent research if it were made available, potentially enhancing competitiveness and economic output. Open access also supports education for high school students, undergraduates and graduate students, whose institutions may not be able to afford extensive journal subscriptions.