Student coalition for Open Access solidifies, now represents over 5 million students internationally

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For immediate release
October 15, 2009

For more information, contact:
Nick Shockey
(202) 296-2296 ext. 116
nick [at] arl [dot] org

STUDENT COALITION FOR OPEN ACCESS SOLIDIFIES,
NOW REPRESENTS OVER 5 MILLION STUDENTS INTERNATIONALLY

Washington DC – The student Right to Research Coalition, a group of national, international, and local student associations that advocate for governments, universities, and researchers to adopt Open Access practices, has now grown to include some of the most prominent student organizations from the United States and across the world. The recent addition of 8 new organizations brings the number of students represented by the coalition to over 5 million, demonstrating the broad, passionate support Open Access enjoys from the student community.
 
Additions to the coalition since its launch this summer include: the United States Student Association (USSA), the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), the National Graduate Council of the Canadian Federation of Students, the International Association of Political Science Students, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council, the University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Graduate Student Association, and the Student Government Association of St. Olaf College.
 
“Our core mission is to protect and enhance students’ access to education," said Angela Peoples, USSA's Legislative Director, noting her organization’s motivation for joining the coalition.  "We believe Open Access plays a crucial role in ensuring that all students have access to the academic research on which their education depends.”
 
The United States Student Association, the largest American student organization, is already taking steps to tap its vast network of student activists for this important cause.  Likewise, the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, the premier American graduate student advocacy organization, has made Open Access a top legislative priority and recently lobbied over two-dozen Congressional offices in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act.
 
Julia Mortyakova, NAGPS president, said, “as an organization representing students actively involved in contributing to research, NAGPS strongly supports Open Access. We believe in enhancing the dissemination of knowledge in order to maximize the access, usage, and impact of the latest research.”
 
The addition of international student groups reflects the global nature of the wider Open Access movement. And, the growing group of student governments that view ensuring access to research as part of their core mission has resulted in increased activity on college and university campuses.
 
“The purpose of research is wide dissemination and cultivation of knowledge. With increasing journal subscription costs and decreasing library budgets, we, as users and producers of scientific knowledge, are taking a stand to support Open Access to scholarly research.  As a student government concerned both locally and globally, we feel this is not only a responsibility to our own constituency, but also to researchers and human advancement worldwide,” said Kevin McComber, Vice President of MIT’s Graduate Student Council.
 
"The incredible growth of the student interest in Open Access, especially the depth of their commitment to advocacy, sends a strong signal that this movement is here to stay," commented Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. "We're looking forward to the energy, creativity, and passion that these groups will surely bring to ensuring that scholarly research is accessible to all."
 
Student organizations are invited to join the coalition at http://www.righttoresearch.org/endorse. 

For more information, visit the coalition’s Web site at http://www.righttoresearch.org.

SPARC
SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC has worked collaboratively with students to introduce the Right to Research campaign, the Open Students Blog, and the international Open Access Week (Oct. 19 – 23, 2009).