More than 13,000 people have signed a petition asking the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, to require the results of academic research that benefits from public funds to be posted free online, according to The Guardian, a British newspaper. The petition is designed to influence the commission on the eve of a meeting where members will debate the merits of the open-access movement. Just as in the United States, the movement in Europe is largely driven by the skyrocketing cost of academic journals. On both sides of the Atlantic, defenders of the status quo seem to be on the defensive. Last week it was disclosed that the Association of American Publishers had hired a public-relations firm with a pit-bull reputation to fend off the open-access movement.
January 30, 2007