Dear President Trump,
On behalf of the U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) and the Student PIRGs, nonpartisan organizations representing more than 83,000 citizen members and 600,000 college students nationwide, we write to express our strong support for updating U.S. federal policy to make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use.
The U.S. government spends tens of billions of dollars annually on scientific research. As taxpayers, we invest in this research because advancing scientific progress benefits our economy, our quality of life, and our global competitiveness. However, under current policy, this research is often locked behind paywalls where most American taxpayers—including college students and our professors—cannot access it for at least a year after it is published.
Ensuring immediate access to the latest, cutting-edge research provides critical knowledge that we as students should be able to learn while and school and continue to access throughout our careers. Our education should be based on the latest, groundbreaking information and we should get access right away, not just when our campus can afford a journal subscription or after an embargo period expires. Making federally-funded research openly available to everyone—along with the data needed to validate the conclusions and any corresponding computer code—will significantly expand our access to the resources necessary for a complete, up-to-date education.
The benefits for students extend far beyond graduation. Providing immediate open access to taxpayer-funded research will empower us to hit the ground running in our careers and stay up to date on the latest research developments in our chosen fields. After all, today’s students are tomorrow’s future. We are the innovators and entrepreneurs who will drive the economy, the healthcare professionals who will care for current generations, and the researchers who will save lives by discovering new cures. Ensuring public access to publicly funded research benefits everyone.
In closing, we urge you to make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use for the benefit of 20 million college students and all of America.
Kaitlyn Vitez, U.S. PIRG Higher Ed Campaign Director
Nicolas Riani, CalPIRG Students State Board Chair
Kyleigh Hillerud, ConnPIRG Students State Board Chair
Sonja Neve, MaryPIRG Students President
Victoria Lawlor, MassPIRG Students State Board Chair
Christian Lutz, NCPIRG Students Chapter Chair
Oriana Holmes-Price, NJPIRG Students State Board Chair
Elizabeth Radcliffe, Oregon Student PIRG State Board Chair
Nick Schmitt, WashPIRG Students State Board Chair
cc: Mick Mulvaney, Acting White House Chief of Staff and Director, Office of Management and Budget
Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy