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The Almighty Buck United States Science

US Research Open Access In Peril 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
luceth writes "Several years ago, the U.S. National Institutes of Health instituted a policy whereby publications whose research was supported by federal funds were to be made freely accessible a year after publication. The rationale was that the public paid for the research in the first place. This policy is now threatened by legislation introduced by, you guessed it, a Congresswoman who is the largest recipient of campaign contributions from the scientific publishing industry. The full text of the bill, H.R. 3699, is available online."
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US Research Open Access In Peril

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  • I read that as: US Research Open Access only in Perl

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Whoosh stupid mod, perl and write only are almost always synonymous....

    • by jd (1658)

      The usual grant applications would be more readable in Perl, so maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing.

  • dufus decisions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k6mfw (1182893) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:46PM (#38657898)
    Any of you get the feeling that anything coming out of Washington DC these days causes problems? While many bitch that Obama is a socialist/marxist (even though nobody in this country can describe what these are) it seems these people are hell bent on creating a Soviet Russia of sorts. I say this because I heard it difficulties USSR scientists had because of restrictions on reading publications and getting published. This has gots to rank as my Bitch Of The Month.
    • by TechForensics (944258) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:50PM (#38657948) Homepage Journal

      FUCK ALL THESE GREEDY BASTARDS. Everywhere you turn there is anticonsumerism. It's just an extension of the copyright wars. What can we withhold for money? If "information wants to be free", what is taking so long? Why don't we squash power grabs when we see them happening? Why don't we have the clout to do it or the will to try?

      Sickening.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        FUCK ALL THESE GREEDY BASTARDS.

        Sorry mate, I'm not that kinky.

        -

        -

        (what the hell? /. replies with "Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.". So that I need to post something else to dilute the caps)

      • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Interesting)

        by gatkinso (15975) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:20PM (#38658236)

        Greed is what inspired the US to be great.

        Moderating that greed is what actually makes us great.

        We need greed, as sad as that is.

    • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:18PM (#38658214) Homepage Journal

      Well, Elsevier is a Dutch company, and the Netherlands has a GINI quotient of 0.650 against the USA's 0.801. Which reminds me of what my old Bolshie Uncle Ivan used to say. He said, "Kid, nobody believes in socialism. Nobody believes in capitalism either. It's socialism for *me*, capitalism for *you*."

      Anyhow, to be fair, Rep. Maloney was only helping out a constituent [1].

      -----
      1: constituent: n. A person, firm or other entity which pays for or hires the services of an elected official.

    • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:21PM (#38658248)

      While many bitch that Obama is a socialist/marxist (even though nobody in this country can describe what these are) it seems these people are hell bent on creating a Soviet Russia of sorts.

      Rather than trying to comprehensively define subjective and inherently nebulous terms, I prefer to keep it simple. Obama is a statist.

      Unlike myself or the Founding Fathers, he does not view government as a necessary evil that's only a little better than having no government, nor does he view it as a deserving object of mistrust. He doesn't want legitimate matters of governance to be handled by the smallest and most local level of government that is able to manage them. He likes centralization for its own sake and accepts the regimentation that comes with it. He subscribes to the belief that people should be commanded and controlled rather than reasoned with, that they should not only tolerate this but also welcome it.

      He may claim to be a Christian, a few may believe he is actually a Muslim, but his true religion is Statism. A lust for power is part of this religion, but only part. It's not quite that simple. It also involves a genuinely-held belief that people are unable to manage their own affairs, that they need and should desire for their "betters" to decide what is good for them and what should be important to them, that only the collective matters, that individual life and individual thought and individual liberty are meaningless. It's a form of dehumanization in favor of institutionalization.

      If you understand what this really is, then you see why baser things like greed or desire for power are naive oversimplifications. Believe it or not, these people are not stupid. They know their policies cause more problems than they solve. They are not merely ignorant or misguided. People like Obama and most of Congress believe they are working towards some kind of greater good, that the damage they knowingly do to society will somehow be worth it when their utopia (really a dystopia) is finalized. The label "Marxist" is a feeble attempt to describe this quality.

      Other than a few rare exceptions, this does not merely describe Obama. It also describes nearly anyone capable of acquiring the funding and the political backing it takes to win a federal election. It's sort of like an elite club and anyone who would seriously change things or otherwise rock the boat isn't invited. During the history of this nation, what we have changed from the statesman to the politician to the career politician to the ruling class with an extremely high incumbency rate. Average Joes don't stand a chance of winning a federal election. Candidates don't emerge; they are groomed.

      Like they said on Monty Python's Life of Brian, "blessed are those with a vested interest in the status quo."

      • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Informative)

        by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:06PM (#38658640)

        Unlike myself or the Founding Fathers, he does not view government as a necessary evil that's only a little better than having no government,

        And, of course, unlike that most-definitely-not-a-Founding-Father-no-way Alexander Hamilton, who made that most-definitely-not-Founding-Fatherish statement that

        • Hey - guess what? Alexander Hamilton lived in the US at a time when OTHER COUNTRIES had great private wealth. Today, the US is a country with great private wealth.
          • by Guy Harris (3803)

            Hey - guess what? Alexander Hamilton lived in the US at a time when OTHER COUNTRIES had great private wealth. Today, the US is a country with great private wealth.

            And how exactly is that relevant to a response to a posting questioning whether all the Founding Fathers, who, err, umm, "lived in the US at a time when OTHER COUNTRIES had great private wealth", were fans of minimal government?

      • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:20PM (#38658792)

        You've asserted an interesting collection of terrible motives to the president with no supporting evidence. But, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and now we know yours.

      • Re:dufus decisions (Score:5, Interesting)

        by f97tosc (578893) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:26PM (#38658854)

        Other than a few rare exceptions, this does not merely describe Obama. It also describes nearly anyone capable of acquiring the funding and the political backing it takes to win a federal election.

        What I find so strange is that so many people make this very argument, yet they still go out and vote for the same standard statist candidate. For example probably most tea partiers will vote for the republican nominee and most in the occupy movement will vote for Obama (even though he is the biggest recepient of Wall Street money and all his economic people are closely tied to Wall Street). If one really believes that the mainstream candidates are the same, then one realizes that it is much better to "waste" one's vote on an independent/smaller candidate. And if enough people do this then there will be real change.

      • by Psion (2244)
        Well said. I wish I had mod points. I'm left with applauding your post and leaving my own little tag so I'll stumble across yours again and have the pleasure of re-reading it every few years.
      • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @09:05PM (#38659200)
        What do the Founding Fathers have to do with it? Is the country supposed to remain exactly the same even if a large part of the population no longer agrees with a 55 guys that have been dead for nearly 200 years and chief complaint was the accessibility of horse and buggy parking in front of the local dry goods store?

        Times change. Before telecommunications/airplanes breaking things down to the lowest level made sense on an efficiency grounds: a large amount of resources had to be spent to move things around/get decisions from the central government to Nevada by buggy. That isn't the problem anymore. I'm not saying central govenment is always efficient but it can be. Some things make sense on a country wide basis: education standards, labor law, criminal law etc. People have a fundamental right to these services/consistency of expectations of what they can and can't do and they shouldn't be different from one area to another because the local county voted on spending the money on a new water fountain in front of town hall or the mayor happens to be religion X and is opposed to evolution on personal grounds so says that the vast majority of scientists opinions shouldn't be heard in science class.

        • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:06PM (#38660066) Homepage Journal

          Is the country supposed to remain exactly the same even if a large part of the population no longer agrees with a 55 guys that have been dead for nearly 200 years and chief complaint was the accessibility of horse and buggy parking in front of the local dry goods store?

          What is this kind of asinine hyperbole supposed to signify? Oh, that we're backwards because our Constitution is outdated and doesn't recognize your right to health care, filet mignot, and a new smart phone every year? Since you seem to have forgotten what the grievances were that prompted people to go to war to oust their leaders from power, I'll remind you:

          Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.-- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

          He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
          He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
          He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
          He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
          He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
          He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
          He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
          He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
          He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
          He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
          He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
          He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
          He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
          For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
          For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of thes

          • Sorry a lot of that is irrelevant/already solved by technology. The vast majority of this is griping about no representation non-elected rulers. Essentially marshal law of a people with no say in how the country is governed etc. Last time I checked the US doesn't have a monarch (though only having two parties with any chance of power is pretty damn close IMHO). ex. judges "dependent on his Will alone" nope you don't have that. At least except for the supreme court (and than only the members unfortunate to

    • Re:dufus decisions (Score:4, Informative)

      by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @10:45PM (#38659932) Homepage Journal

      While many bitch that Obama is a socialist/marxist (even though nobody in this country can describe what these are)

      Marxism is an economic system where all means of production become common property (owned and controlled by the state), and private profit is disallowed. Socialism (according to Marx) is a transitional phase between capitalism and Marxism.

      The current US economic system is more closely related to fascism, and has been for decades, accelerated under the current and previous administrations. That's an extremely unpopular label, but Musollini-style fascism - with close ties between the government and corporations, with each interdependent on the other - is the most accurate description of the current system. Typically euphemisms such as "public/private partnerships" or "privatizing" are used instead, but it's the same principle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Deus.1.01 (946808)

        Oh god, where to begin.
        Firstly, Marxism by itself is strictly a theoretical school, Marx used it to conclude things was fucked and to devise a solution which was the communist manifsto(the ideology).
        The main point of communism was the absolution of the state, when workers could organize the manufacturing and distribution of goods without one group/actors gaining leverage over the other(the point of the classless society).

        Amiable goal but the means to reach it the way Marxism foresaw was just plain wrong.

        Sa

  • by trunicated (1272370) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:47PM (#38657908)

    Color me shocked.

    This will never change until lobbying and donations on a corporate scale are either severely limited or outright made illegal and enforced with harsh punishment. However, since it would be Congress that would need to change those laws, it's never going to happen.

    Who watches the watchers, fox guard the henhouse, etc.

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:05PM (#38658104)

      This will never change until lobbying and donations on a corporate scale are either severely limited or outright made illegal and enforced with harsh punishment.

      Thank all the gods that the Supreme Court figured out that campaign contributions don't "necessarily" buy politicians. Otherwise we might be tempted to jump to an uncharitable conclusion, in cases like this.

      • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:32PM (#38658346) Journal

        If we outlaw corporate contributions to candidates, we must also outlaw:

        • union contributions (direct or indirect)
        • PAC contributions (ALL of them, including YOUR special interests)
        • national party committee spending (direct or indirect)
        • governmental agency lobbying
        • any financing originating outside the country

        The only source of campaign contributions should be registered voters, and capped. Corporations are not registered voters. Neither are unions, PACs, non-citizen immigrants (legal or otherwise), minors, felons (sorry, Wall Street, sorry, Earth First), or anything else. If you can't vote, why should you be allowed any other influence? That is a privilege reserved for citizens... it is what citizenship is all about. Yeah, sure, that means a whole lot less money floating around for propaganda, but is that bad? Why would replacing glitzy attack TV ads (expensive) with written position statements (cheap) be undesirable? And if someone isn't sufficiently motivated to open their wallets to support their candidates, fuck 'em. The lazy and apathetic will do what the motivated damned well tell them to (I'm looking at YOU, moderates, you lazy couch-dwelling motherfuckers. The national party committees, ALL of them, are owned by Constitution-hating would-be dictators because extremists are the only ones who give a damn enough to do anything other than whine, and the national committees are not about philosophy... they're about money.).

        • The only source of campaign contributions should be registered voters, and capped.

          I agree, except that I would let parents contribute on behalf of their children.

        • Sign me up. Simple, effective and legislatively possible, albeit difficult. Unfortunately the current makeup of SCOTUS would never allow such common sense.
        • by mykos (1627575)
          I'm for it.

          It would sting the corporations a lot more than it stings me. As it stands now, I can't buy laws, but they can. If it was all illegalized, neither of us could.
        • Norway (where I'm from) deals with it by forbidding political TV advertising (and possibly radio advertising - I'm not sure), and as far as I remember giving a certain amount of funding to political parties if they reach the election threshold (sperregrensen) - in Norway, 4% of the vote (and the election threshold only applies to levelling seats).

          This works well; I've never met anybody that considers the system to not work. They will disagree with some politicians, but not with the entire system.

          Eivind.

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          Interesting. I also like the check-off option in state and federal tax returns - although I'd prefer equal distribution out of that pool to all qualifying candidates.

          Small but real correction: generally, felons who've satisfied their incarceration/probation debt have most of their rights re-instated, including the franchise.

      • by SETIGuy (33768) *
        Yes, because when two opposing sides throw money at a politician, only one side can win, but the politician gets to keep all the money. Obviously one side was unable to buy him.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      yea I never figured it out

      If I attempt to bribe a congressperson I go to prison

  • Obligatory but apt: (Score:5, Informative)

    by forkfail (228161) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:49PM (#38657930)
  • by ironjaw33 (1645357) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:49PM (#38657934)
    With this bill, the feds paying out the grants (NIH, NSF, DARPA, etc.) can't mandate the openness, but the research institutions and the researchers can do it themselves. There have already been a few discussions on here about some of the better known US schools mandating that all research be published in open conferences/journals. At the last conference I attended, there was a business meeting where it was discussed that we can (and should) attach copyright waivers to the standard ACM copyright form so that we retain copyright of our work and are free to distribute it.
    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:54PM (#38657990)

      With this bill, the feds paying out the grants (NIH, NSF, DARPA, etc.) can't mandate the openness, but the research institutions and the researchers can do it themselves.

      Umm, no.

      No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that--

      (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work;

      Note that the publisher has a veto on it as well, if it's published in a peer-reviewed journal.

      • by ironjaw33 (1645357) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:11PM (#38658164)
        You don't seem to understand the wording of the bill. Federal agencies are barred from mandating open access policies -- in the context of TFA they are talking about funding bodies like the NIH which award grant money to other institutions who perform the research. This leaves the institutions receiving the grant money, usually universities which aren't attached to the federal government, free to do as they please. Lastly, publishers accept copyright waivers all the time, and some schools, like Princeton [princeton.edu], mandate that you submit one if the publisher wants to claim copyright. Some Commonwealth countries, like Australia, claim copyright on all publications their universities produce and submit these waivers with each publication.
        • Private institutions may, indeed, do as they please.

          Of course, if the publishers decide (after buying a law preventing the government from mandating openness) to say "we won't publish your paper if YOU mandate openness either", then, as a scientist, you're pretty much screwed.

          I don't have a problem with "the author gets to decide" (though I think if my taxes are paying for it, it should be open unless there's a good reason otherwise).

          I DO have a problem with "the Publisher gets to decide, which is what t

          • I DO have a problem with "the Publisher gets to decide, which is what this is doing...

            Unfortunately, the publisher holding the copyright/controlling dissemination is the status quo. As I see it, change is only going to come from within, with researchers and institutions turning up the heat on publishers or starting their own open publications. Some of these changes are happening, with some schools and disciplines shifting towards open access policies. However, based on the current bill and the SOPA fiasco, I don't think legislators can be counted on to do the right thing when it comes to

      • If the system had not been so significantly corrupted through past legislation similar to this, any funding coming from the government(public money) would immediately make any work resulting therefrom public-sector work.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          The past legislation came about because anyone who received government money published under their own name, and the people who funded the work (taxpayers) got nothing. It was corrupted from the start. Without legislation, the work was never released as belonging to the public.
    • by jd (1658)

      Perhaps, but journals are well-known for either being pressured (or sometimes believing themselves pressured) to publish only what their sponsors want published and in the manner the sponsors want it published in. That means that hypothetical abilities to waive restrictions may not actually exist in practice. The only way you can guarantee such freedoms is if the Feds intervene at least to the point of prohibiting abuse of position.

      However, it's extremely safe to say that if the Feds are themselves being wh

  • by bhlowe (1803290) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:50PM (#38657946)
    Don't make us click on the stupid article to find out the name, location, and party affiliation of a politician.
    Use: Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) instead of "a congresswoman"
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by jd (1658)

      Well, since all politicians succumb to bribes, the name doesn't really help. The only political party on the planet is "Money Pot", so the shell entity created to represent it doesn't make any difference, and location only makes a difference if politicians care about the people in it (and you can guess my opinion on that score).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:13PM (#38658186)
      Wow. You listed the Democratic cosponsor, but not the Republican sponsor. So much for exposing affiliations.
    • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:20PM (#38658234)
      Make sure you include "all" sponsors. Oh wait, you only wanted to malign the democrats... Oh well, too bad, this was a bi-partisan sponsored bill so I'll FTFY.

      H.R. 3699 was introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Committee member Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Good that you brought it up. Also note that Issa got money from the same group that gave Maloney hers.

        Ron Paul isn't my first choice for a candidate, but right now he's the only one guaranteed to shake things up enough for real change.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:44PM (#38658464)
        Man, your elected representatives really seem to hate your country.
        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by couchslug (175151)

          They are scum, and it's a tragedy the aircraft which hit the Pentagon didn't drill Congress instead.

          Al Qaeda would have done the Great Satan a Great Favor.

      • Kind of makes one wonder about the praise Issa was getting earlier when the story broke about him calling a SOPA hearing with (tiny) tech "leaders"

    • by braeldiil (1349569) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:21PM (#38658240)
      Why am I not suprised that you managed not to mention the actual sponsor, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Rep Maloney is the other sponsor, but the bill was introduced by Rep. Issa. For reference, this is Rep. Issa's third bite at this particular apple - he was a cosponser on a similar bill in 2008 and 2009. Rep Maloney was also a cosponser in 2009.
    • Are those details really relevant? The vice of corruption is something I expect of nearly all Congressmen regardless of party or home state.

  • by Grieviant (1598761) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:51PM (#38657952)

    There was an interesting article [guardian.co.uk] on the academic publishing industry recently. When you get all the material refereed for free (actually, on the dime of the colleges and research institutes who pay the reviewer's salary), there's just no reason why the charges should be soaring up past $20 per article like they have in the last 10 years.

    The greed doesn't stop there either. Not long ago I was a volunteer at a fairly prominent IEEE conference. The cost of attendance per person is in the $600-$1000 range. Despite contributing 12+ hours of work, one of the co-chairs had to fight with the organizers just to get them to foot the bill for our lunches.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:17PM (#38658208)

      The publisher got all the material for free?! No! Even worse! Scientists MUST pay when their article gets accepted. Reviewers work on a volunteer basis, NO payment whatsoever. The publisher often does NOTHING to article other than checking formatting issue. Often times, scientists themselves have to fix formatting issues. The review process is usually organized by a volunteer chief editor. The chief editor then decides what to publish. Publishers did ZERO on the science part and almost zero on the formatting part. After then, the publisher CHARGES libraries or individual readers for the electronic copies for which it does ALMOST NOTHING!

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:51PM (#38657954)

    (3) PRIVATE-SECTOR RESEARCH WORK- The term `private-sector research work' means an article intended to be published in a scholarly or scientific publication, or any version of such an article, that is not a work of the United States Government (as defined in section 101 of title 17, United States Code), describing or interpreting research funded in whole or in part by a Federal agency and to which a commercial or nonprofit publisher has made or has entered into an arrangement to make a value-added contribution, including peer review or editing. Such term does not include progress reports or raw data outputs routinely required to be created for and submitted directly to a funding agency in the course of research.

    With this definition, they've basically declared all work not done by Federal Employees "Private sector", even if paid for entirely by the Federal Government, so long as the work is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    • by SETIGuy (33768) *
      It doesn't need to be reviewed. Changing the title to all caps, adding page numbers, a header or a footer would count as "editing."
  • by headkase (533448) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:54PM (#38657988)
    I'm serious, why is it even legal for politicians to accept any kinds of money outside of their salary?! If that one thing was done - illegal to accept any outside money - then I'd optimistically predict that politics wouldn't be the sh*t-hole it is today.
    • I'm serious, why is it even legal for politicians to accept any kinds of money outside of their salary?! If that one thing was done - illegal to accept any outside money - then I'd optimistically predict that politics wouldn't be the sh*t-hole it is today.

      You assume there's some way to prevent this.

      Or are you just assuming that featuring your favorite (or least favorite) politician in a news article doesn't count as a contribution in kind?

      Getting all money out of politics (except the news) would just mean

      • just ban organizations from donating money. Only individuals can donate money to a politician. Next, ban donating to a campaign you can't vote in. If you can't vote in California's elections why are you donating money? Next, strict caps on donations. Lastly, enforce the policy with a lifetime ban on holding political office and/or long, long prison terms. Take your pick. It's clear, it's cut & dry, and it eliminates money.

        As for tracking the money, how easy would it be to spot a candidate who has 10
        • by djmurdoch (306849)

          Except for the penalties, all of the above are true in Canada:

            - no corporate donations at all
            - no donations from foreigners
            - max donation of $1100 per person to a party

          And our government is still in the pocket of the big media corporations.

        • ust ban organizations from donating money. Only individuals can donate money to a politician. Next, ban donating to a campaign you can't vote in. If you can't vote in California's elections why are you donating money? Next, strict caps on donations. Lastly, enforce the policy with a lifetime ban on holding political office and/or long, long prison terms. Take your pick. It's clear, it's cut & dry, and it eliminates money.

          So, how do you deal with CBS giving favourable press to a candidate who just happe

    • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:24PM (#38658266) Homepage

      Why are bribes even legal?

      Because the people accepting the bribes are the people deciding what is and is not legal.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Making it illegal to accept outside money isn't enough, since a popular way to bribe politicians right now is to offer them high paying jobs for when they retire.

      We need to not only ban outside money, but also require politicians to sign non-competes (sad as that is), banning them from working in any private sector job for a period of time dependent on what their role in the government was (e.g. 2 years for cabinet members and the like, 4 years for a representative, 6 for a senator, life for a president).

  • TFA quotes the text of the bill as consisting of the following 3 lines:

    "No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that:
    (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or
    (2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-secto

  • by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:02PM (#38658076) Homepage
    Check out the co-sponsor; it's none other than one Darrell Issa (R-CA). Yup, the same one that is opposed to SOPA and has proposed the alternative OPEN. Not so opposed to abuses of the copyright system, it appears... I now can't help but wonder whether OPEN was merely put forward as a Plan B just in case SOPA flounders in the light of all the negative publicity. Time to check the small print, me thinks.
    • by nadaou (535365)

      /. nitpick:

      the word you are looking for is "founders" not "flounders"

      (dict.org)

      From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

      Founder \Found"er\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Foundered; p. pr. &
      vb. n. Foundering.] [OF. fondrer to fall in, cf. F.
      s'effondrer, fr. fond bottom, L. fundus. See Found to
      establish.]
      1. (Naut.) To become fill

  • The bill actually says "private-sector" several times. Is work done by a private organization still considered private when it receives public funds?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The bill specifically states that any research done by a private organization is covered even if all of the funding for the research comes from federal funds.

      3) PRIVATE-SECTOR RESEARCH WORK- The term `private-sector research work' means an article intended to be published in a scholarly or scientific publication, or any version of such an article, that is not a work of the United States Government (as defined in section 101 of title 17, United States Code), describing or interpreting research funded in whole or in part by a Federal agency and to which a commercial or nonprofit publisher has made or has entered into an arrangement to make a value-added contribution, including peer review or editing. Such term does not include progress reports or raw data outputs routinely required to be created for and submitted directly to a funding agency in the course of research.

      This is just a blatant attempt to misappropriate public funds for the sake of commercial interests.

      • I read it differently "that is NOT a work of the United States Government (as defined in section 101 of title 17, United States Code), describing or interpreting research funded in whole or in part by a Federal agency" ie the new bill will be for private works NOT included in sec 101 t 17.
    • The comment thread on the article goes into this in detail. It seems to amount to careful parsing on the part of the Elsevier rep who authored the bill.

      Obligatory car analogy: if your car has a "For Sale" sign on it, and I come by with a bucket of water and wash it, does that give me the right to dictate who gets your car?

      • No, but if I buy the parts and pay you to put the car together, I think I should be able to say who gets the car when you're done.

    • by SETIGuy (33768) *

      In this bill "private-sector" doesn't mean private sector. It redefines "private-sector research" to be work funded by the government performed by anyone except the federal government so long as it is edited or peer reviewed by a non-governmental organization. So someone at the University of Illinois doing NASA funded research who sends something to the University of Chicago Press for publication cannot be required by NASA make copies available at a eprint server at no charge. If you want to see the res

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:03PM (#38658088)
    Make sure you let your representing congress critters know [popvox.com] your displeasure for such legislation. Don't let corporate money be the only voice.
    • by SETIGuy (33768) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:49PM (#38658520) Homepage
      Like members of Congress care what someone with no money say. If you don't like what they do in office, they'll just spend their money convincing you that their opponent eats a live baby every Sunday. The system is to far past broken to fix. The only questions now are when it gets torn down and by whom.
      • I understand your cynicism, however, if you remain silent the only voice that the politician will hear is that of the lobbyist. Since silence from the opposition suggests indifference if not tacit approval why would/should they care?
  • I, for one, vote that we just start executing any politician who - without first consulting their constituents or evaluating the public good of a measure - does something solely to benefit their donors.

    We can call it 'Rehabilitation' and make it like a death carnival during a monster truck show...

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Do 'em like China did with the folks who contaminated infant formula.

      Named, shamed, then shot in pubic.

  • we now know now much it costs to buy a congressman: $5,500 [maplight.org].

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      we now know now much it costs to buy a congressman: $5,500 [maplight.org].

      Replace "Democrat" with "Republican" in that URL and you'll see that Issa cost less than Maloney.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:43PM (#38658454)

    I work for the government and every once in a while my boss says I should try to patent it. I always refuse because my paycheck comes from the taxpayers so it should be freely available. I have never been able to find if there is an easy way to release my designs in an open way. I don't think the lawyers want to deal with it.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Technically, you should patent it. Then publish a notice of open license (or whatever it's called where you legally announce you give everyone an implicit license to your patent). It protects the invention, getting it out in the public. It also protects you personally, as if you ever did change jobs, having one or more patents will help in the job search. And it does what you are implying you think will happen. Instead, as long as your device hasn't been out more than a year, someone else can come in,
  • by Egg Sniper (647211) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:50PM (#38658530)
    Choosing to publish in a journal that charges subscription fees has the advantage that it doesn't cost you anything to publish your work and the disadvantage that a restricted audience has access to your work (with the usual excuse being that most in research/academic settings can use institutional subscriptions and who else would be interested anyway?).

    Choosing to publish in a journal that is free to all has the disadvantage that it can cost quite a bit (thousands of dollars for the last one I did) to publish your work and the advantage that anyone with a computer and internet access has access to your work.

    Having said that, any grant funded project likely has money marked specifically for publication (dissemination) costs (personally I think publication costs are a better investment then conference presentations but that's just me). If you know you want to have your work freely available AND you are funded by an NIH grant there's no good reason why it can't be done without publishing in a subscription based journal that's going to bitch about letting everyone see your article for free after a year.

    Leave the subscription journals for the poor SOBs that don't have grant money coming in (another problem).
    • by raaum (152451)

      If you're working in a research/academic setting, you're paying for it either way. It just comes out of different pots of money. And since the publishers are relentlessly hiking institutional subscription rates, your institutional budget for journal subscriptions is getting out of control. What's better: pay a fixed fee up front for something that you (and everyone else) will be able to read anytime, anywhere, or pay an ever-growing recurring fee for something that only people at research/academic instituti

  • that we need a constitutional amendment enforcing the removal of money from politics. Until this occurs I do not believe that democracy or capitalism can proceed as intended. Large inefficient companies will continue to legislate themselves niches and utilize the government to pad there losses, effectively removing themselves from natural market forces. This is the opposite of capitalism in many ways. Indeed it is something like a twisted socialism, where the means of production control the government (in s

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