What happens with 5.5 million students all over the world start to teach their friends, professors, and parents about the open access alternative to traditional publishing?
As of today, this broad based student collective called The Right to Research Coalition represents the following organizations:
• The American Medical Student Association
• The American University Washington College of Law Student Bar Association
• California Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council
• The Canadian Federation of Students
• Columbia University Graduate Student Advisory Council
• Cornell University Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
• Dartmouth College Graduate Student Council
• The Indian Medical Student Association
• The International Association for Political Science Students
• Library and Information Science Student Association, Simmons College
• The Malta Medical Students’ Association
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Undergraduate Association
• 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
• St. Olaf College Student Government Association
• Student Advocates for Graduate Education
• The Student Public Interest Research Groups
• Students for Free Culture
• Trinity University Association of Student Representatives
• The United States Student Association
• Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
• University of Calgary Students’ Academic Assembly
• University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
• University of Nebraska – Lincoln Graduate Student Association
• University of Tennessee-Knoxville Student Government Association
This early-adopting cohort includes only about 15 individual university groups, so it would not be remarkable if the list grew exponentially over the next year. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education blog is bouncing around the twitter universe about this effort.
Today’s undergraduate students are tomorrow’s researchers and faculty, so even if all that is accomplished is consciousness-raising, it makes sense to start generating positive open access karma in the future. Of course, the last thing a student likes is to be taken for granted, as the moveon.org effect on during the last Presidential election created a coalition of 5 million members across America, about the same aggregated size as Right to Research.
Here’s a video of a student talk given by Nick Shockey, Director of the Right to Research Coalition, and Director of Student Advocacy at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) at the Apple-sponsored AcademiX 2010 conference.