Essay on open access scholarship
Connotea Imports 2012-03-08
The 11 provosts of universities in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation published a joint statement opposing the Research Works Act (RWA) and in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). Excerpt: "We are the provosts of 11 large research universities that engage in over $5.6 billion of funded research each year. That research is directed at serving the public good through medical advances, improved defense systems, enhanced agricultural and industrial productivity, technological innovation, and reasoned social policy....While the collective portfolio of federally funded research undertaken by our universities incontrovertibly strengthens our country, the research process itself is strengthened by an academic culture that encourages the free and open exchange of ideas among scholars....Consistent with these deeply held academic norms, we provosts have advocated for taxpayer access to federally-funded research, writing, for example, a 2006 open letter in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act, and supporting this Congressional session’s proposed extension of the legislation (HR 4004/S 2009)....More operationally, our universities have made substantial investments in the development of open institutional repositories, as well as adopting campus guidelines and procedures to ensure compliance with federally mandated requirements that funded research results be made accessible in open access repositories. As stated above, we believe that open access to such federally-funded research reports facilitates scholarly collaboration, accelerates progress, and reinforces our government’s accountability to taxpayers and commitment to promoting an informed citizenry essential to the enduring stability of our democracy. Because of our strong belief in open sharing of information, we were disturbed to see that recently introduced legislation (The Research Works Act, H.R. 3699) called for a rollback of the progress being made toward opening communication channels for sharing publicly funded research findings with the American people. Were this bill to pass, it would reverse a 2008 administrative mandate by the National Institutes of Health that grantees deposit the results of their funded research in a publicly accessible archive, and prohibit other agencies from issuing similar mandates going forward. We believe that this legislation would significantly undermine access to the new ideas that result from government-funded research, access that we encourage to the public at-large, to a worldwide network of leading scholars, and to future generations of scholars who are today’s undergraduate and graduate students. In our view, ratification of the proposed legislation would represent a step backward in the ongoing enlightenment of society through research and education...."