Scholarly knowledge is part of the common wealth of humanity.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the scholarly literature, despite advances in communications technology. The high cost of academic journals restricts access to knowledge; in some fields, prices can reach $20,000 for a single journal subscription1 or $30 for an individual article.2 Despite these high prices, authors of scholarly articles are not paid for their work. The profits from these publications go solely to the publishers of the journals. A vast amount of research is funded from public sources – yet taxpayers are locked out by the cost of access.
Learning and inquiry are impeded when scholars lack access to fellow researchers’ work, and when students lack access to the work of scholars before them.
At the same time, digital technologies have opened new opportunities for research. New tools facilitate faster discoveries, speed the development of new technologies, and accelerate the progress of science. Patients could have access to the latest medical research, citizens could evaluate scientific information on environmental impacts, and developing countries could apply the most recent scholarship to public health and development efforts.3 But access barriers leave these opportunities under-explored.
Open Access is an alternative to the traditional closed, subscription-access system of scholarly communication. Open Access makes the results of scholarly research available online for free, immediately upon publication, and removes barriers for scholarly and educational re-use.4 Entire journals can be open-access, or an author can provide Open Access to an individual article by posting a copy on an openly accessible Web site. All forms of open-access publication depend on rigorous methods of quality control, including peer review.
Open Access has achieved remarkable success to date: more than 4,000 open-access journals are published today;5 millions of articles are made available via open-access repositories;6 and dozens of policies from universities and research funders support Open Access;7 but still more needs to be done.
We, the undersigned student organizations, hereby endorse Open Access as the preferred model for scholarly communication, because:
(a) Open Access improves the educational experience. All students, regardless of their institution’s ability to afford subscriptions, should have access to the full scholarly record, whether for assigned reading, research for a term paper, or literature review for a dissertation.
(b) Open Access democratizes access to research. Students from around the world should have full access to the scholarly literature, along with patients looking for medical information and citizens seeking to learn about the environment or other scientific topics.
(c) Open Access advances research. Open Access helps researchers be more productive by facilitating access to the latest studies. Open Access also enables new techniques for computer-assisted research, paving the way for scientific advancements.
(d) Open Access improves the visibility and impact of scholarship. Today's student is tomorrow’s scholar. Recent studies suggest that Open Access articles are downloaded and cited more frequently than articles that are accessible only through subscription.8 Open Access fulfills researchers’ professional responsibility to maximize the impact of their research.
Call upon UNIVERSITIES to support Open Access
Call upon GOVERNMENTS AND RESEARCH FUNDERS to support Open Access
We believe research agencies should adopt policies that ensure Open Access to publicly funded research, such as that of the National Institutes of Health11 and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.12
Call upon RESEARCHERS to support Open Access
We believe researchers should publish in Open Access journals, and/or deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts in Open Access repositories.15
Commit to support Open Access in our activities
We will undertake activities, in our membership and on our campuses, to educate students about Open Access and to engage them in efforts supporting Open Access.
• The American Medical Student Association
• The American University Washington College of Law Student Bar Association
• The Arizona State University Graduate and Professional Students Association
• Associação Nacional de Estudantes de Psicologia
(Portuguese National Association of Psychology Students)
• Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe (European Students’ Forum)
• The Association of Medical Students in Bulgaria
• Athabasca University Graduate Students' Association
• The British Medical Association's Medical Students Committee
• California Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council
• The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
• The Canadian Federation of Medical Students
• The Canadian Federation of Students
• Columbia University Graduate Student Advisory Council
• Cornell University Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
• The Croatian Pharmacy and Medical Biochemistry Students' Association
• Dartmouth College Graduate Student Council
• Direção Executiva Nacional dos Estudantes de Medicina (Brazil)
• The European Federation of Psychology Students' Associations
• The European Medical Students' Association
• The European Medical Students' Association - Turkey
• The European Pharmaceutical Students' Association
• European Students of Industrial Engineering and Management
• The Federation of African Medical Students' Associations
• The Federation of Medical Students Associations in Romania
• Harvard Extension Pre-Health Society
• The Indian Medical Student Association
• The International Association for Political Science Students
• The International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences
• The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations
• The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations - The Netherlands
• The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations - Jordan
• The Lebanese Medical Students' International Committee
• Library and Information Science Student Association, Simmons College
• The Macedonian Medical Student’s Association
• The Malta Medical Students' Association
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Undergraduate Association
• Medical Students Against AIDS
• The Medical Students’ Association of Kenya
• National Association of Graduate-Professional Students
• National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students
• Oberlin College Student Senate
• Oklahoma State University Graduate and Professional Student Government Association
• Old Dominion University Graduate Student Organization
• Russian Young Doctors League
• Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina
• St. Olaf College Student Government Association
• Student Advocates for Graduate Education
• The Student Public Interest Research Groups
• Students for Free Culture
• Tatarstan Medical Students' Association
• Trinity University Association of Student Representatives
• Tufts Graduate Student Council
• Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Student Council
• Udruga Studenata Dentalne Medicine (Croatia)
• The United States Student Association
• Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
• University of Calgary Students' Academic Assembly
• University of California, San Diego Graduate Student Association
• University of Colorado Student Government
• University of Colorado United Government of Graduate Students
• University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
• University of Nebraska - Lincoln Graduate Student Association
• University of Tennessee - Knoxville Student Government Association
 The cost of an institutional subscription to Brain Research in 2009 was $22,940 (http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/622287/bibliographic).
 The price per article for Elsevier journals on ScienceDirect is $31.50 as of March 4, 2009 (http://www.info.sciencedirect.com/licensing/individual/ppv/).
 World Health Assembly resolution 61.21, “Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property,” adopted May 24, 2008 (http://www.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/A61/A61_R21-en.pdf).
 As defined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml;http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/bethesda.htm; http://oa.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html).
 “The Harvard Open-Access Policies,” Harvard University Library Office for Scholarly Communications (http://osc.hul.harvard.edu/OpenAccess/overview.php).
 “Stanford University School of Education Open Access Motion” (http://ed.stanford.edu/suse/faculty/openaccess.html).
 “Policy on Public Access to the Research We Fund,” Autism Speaks (http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/overview/policies/policy_on_public_access_to_research.php).
 “Open access policy”, Canadian Cancer Society (http://cancer.ca/research/policies and administration/policy/open access.aspx).
 Peter Suber, “Six things that researchers need to know about open access”, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, February 2, 2006 (http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/02-02-06.htm#know)