Research Works Act Could Challenge Public Access to Federally Funded Research
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"At the time of this writing, six members of the AAP —MIT Press, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), ITHAKA, Pennsylvania State University Press, The Rockefeller University Press, and the University of California Press— have publicly disavowed this bill. Other organizations, such as the Special Libraries Association, have strongly opposed this bill as well. An online petition site to stop the Research Works Act has also been set up. “I want to state emphatically that I support the NIH Public Access Policy and think it should be expanded to other federal funding agencies,” states Mike Rossner, executive director of The Rockefeller University Press in a public letter. “All publishers of biomedical research understand several truths: 1) that their content is generated in large part through federally funded research, 2) that the peer review process is carried out in large part by federally funded individuals, and 3) that a significant portion of their subscription revenue is obtained from government funded institutions. Although publishers’ content may technically be considered ‘private-sector research work’ as described in the text of H.R. 3699, its very existence depends on public funding.” Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project, notes that the bill’s purpose is “To End Government Mandates on Private-Sector Scholarly Publishing” and “prevent regulatory interference with private-sector research publishers....” [He says,] "This is the same rhetoric publishers have used for years. As usual, they neglect to say that the NIH policy regulates grantees, not publishers. They neglect to say that NIH-funded authors in effect ask publishers two questions, not one: “Will you publish my article?” and “Will you publish it under these terms?” It’s a business proposition that publishers are free to take or leave. Finally, the AAP and PSP neglect to say that 100% of surveyed publishers accommodate the NIH policy, or are willing to take that business proposition." ...“There is one aspect of the proposed Act H. R. 3699 that is very interesting,” notes Arthur Sale, professor of computing at the University of Tasmania. “It is an admission by the publishers involved that they do not at present have any intrinsic intellectual property right to control the disposition of the Version of Record otherwise known as the ‘publisher’s pdf.’ The Act is an attempt to create a new right. You should read the full proposed Act. It is absurd, and badly drafted, perhaps deliberately to mislead.” "