In the summer of 2009, the original Student Statement on the Right to Research sent a strong message to the world that students support Open Access and marked the founding of the Right to Research Coalition. From just 6 founding members, the Right to Research Coalition and its statement have now grown to over 85 organisations across the world, and together the coalition has had an important impact. The Open Access movement, now with students at its center, has made large strides toward its goal of unlocking the world’s scholarly research. Today, it is increasingly common to see top research funders with Open Access policies; Open Access journals are publishing a higher percentage of the world’s research output each year; and repositories have become core infrastructure that provide access to millions of articles. There is still a long way to go, but we’re on the right track.
As the movement for Open Access has grown, the related causes of Open Education and Open Data have become increasingly important. We’ve watched our member organizations begin to integrate these aligned issues into their work organically, and SPARC, our parent organization, has similarly expanded its mission to include Open Education and Open Data. Updating the Student Statement will reflect the diversity of our members’ efforts to promote openness across research and education, and provide the grounding the Right to Research Coalition needs to represent and advocate for students on these issues. Our scope has also naturally expanded to include early career researchers as well as students, and the statement has been updated to reflect its intention to represent the next generation, from undergraduates to those beginning a career in the academy.
Two new sections on Open Data and Open Education have been added to the statement and mirror the structure of the original text on Open Access—explaining why the issues are important the next generation and calling for action to be taken to make open the new default. Language has also been added to be inclusive of early career academic professionals and provide context for how Open Access can differ in the Humanities.
The process of updating the Student Statement has taken place over several years with the constant input of students, member organizations and experts. The next step is yours to take! The Student Statement gains its strength from student organisation around the world signing on. We invite you to do just that, and we’re here to offer any support you may need.