Relative per-capita endorsement of the 2012 Open Access petition in the U.S.

This is an interactive chart – hover over states to display their scores! If the chart doesn’t display, the static image is here.

Data include individuals who self-reported a location in one of the 50 U.S. states for the first 25,000 endorsements (n = 15,695) on the official White House petition site. Per-capita figures were calculated using 2011 Population Estimates, standardized, and scaled to a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10 for comparison purposes. The chart was created in Google Charts and the raw data are available here.

Formatting the Data:

I wanted all of the states to have a fair shot at demonstrating their proactivity in petition signing, so I controlled for state population by calculating petitioners per-capita.  (Don’t say that I never did anything for you, Wyoming!)  Per-capita endorsement was on a scale of 10^-5, so I normalized the data on a scale from 0-100 (Mean = 50, SD = 10) for ease of interpretation. I manually reviewed and coded individual cases where a state was not reported or where it was unclear.

Formatting the Chart:

This was my first experience using the Google Geochart tool.  It is relatively straightforward if you are comfortable editing HTML code.  I won’t belabor you with the details – please feel free to use my code as a template if this is something that you’re interested in working with.

Interpreting the Chart:

The shades of pale blue are somewhere below- or about-average.   The lowest score was 37.3 (Mississippi) and the closest to average score was 50.3 (Nebraska).  If you live in very pale state, and you signed the petition, then you should be commended for being one of the select few in your state who did so!  If your state is solid blue, then it is on-par with the rest of the country.  Moving up the color scheme, each solid color is one more standard deviation above the average (i.e., Green is +1SD, Yellow is +2SD, etc.).  The scale topped off at 88.9 (Massachusetts).


My Letter to the Editor with a personal plea to endorse this petition was published in the local University Times on May 31, 2012. This figure is also featured on the Access2Research Wikipedia page, which provides more information about the petition.

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