Legislation to Bar Public-Access Requirement on Federal Research Is Dead - Research - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Connotea Imports 2012-03-08
"The science-publishing giant Elsevier pulled its support on Monday from the controversial Research Works Act, hours before the bill's co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives declared the legislation dead....The bill, HR 3699, would have prevented agencies of the federal government from requiring public access to federally subsidized research. In a statement released on Monday morning, the publisher reiterated its opposition to government mandates even as it backed away from the bill. On Monday afternoon, the bill's co-sponsors, Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican of California, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat of New York, issued a statement of their own saying that they would not push for action on the bill after all. "As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open-access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future," the Issa-Maloney statement said. "The American people deserve to have access to research for which they have paid. This conversation needs to continue, and we have come to the conclusion that the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate." Before the news broke that the bill was dead, open-access advocates credited a growing scholarly boycott of Elsevier for the publisher's change of course. But Elsevier said its shift on the legislation was a response to feedback from the scholars who continue to work with it....Boycott organizers and access advocates celebrated Monday's news. "I see this as a victory won by popular awareness and support," Mr. [Tyler] Neylon said in an e-mail. Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, said the boycott had helped spur Elsevier's turnabout. "You don't get almost 8,000 scientists saying 'We think this is a lousy idea' so vocally without taking that seriously," she said. Alicia Wise, Elsevier's director of universal access, played down the boycott's effect. "It's something that we're clearly aware of," she said. But she emphasized that Elsevier had been sounding out the authors, editors, and reviewers who continue to work with it. "Those are the voices we have been listening to," she said....If Elsevier hopes that renouncing the controversial bill will make the boycott go away, it's likely to be disappointed. "Elsevier's sincerity is still a bit suspect," Mr. Neylon said...."