Attack from big money publishers

Speaking of open access, I hope that most of you have heard about the US Research Works Act, which is a bill before Congress that would roll back the open access policies of some federal grant agencies. I urge you all to do what you can to raise awareness of this. Here is some essential reading:

My position on this is exactly the one very forcefully put by Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber:

We endorse the view that every federal agency funding non-classified research should require free online access to the full-text, peer-reviewed results of that research as soon as possible after its publication. There are three powerful reasons to take such a step. First, taxpayers deserve access to the results of taxpayer-funded research. It is their right. Second, public access maximizes the visibility and usefulness of this research, which in turn maximizes the return on the public’s enormous investment in that research. Third, public access accelerates research and all the benefits that depend on research, from public health to economic development, manufacturing, and jobs …”

[From: http://osc.hul.harvard.edu/stp-rfi-response-january-2012]

Update (2012-01-18): Good news. Two of the big guns, Nature and Science have come out in opposition to the Research Works Act and in support of the NIH Open Access Policy. It’s very clear that Elsevier and their cronies are isolated in the scientific community, but unfortunately they have the ears of many ill-informed congresspeople.

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