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

    by forkfail (228161) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:49PM (#38657930)
  • 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"
  • 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 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 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 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:14PM (#38658188)

    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.

  • 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 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)

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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

  • Liberate Science! (Score:5, Informative)

    by presidenteloco (659168) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:21PM (#38658810)

    Some would say liberty made the US great.

    In natural justice (tm) or basic apolitical logic of the situation, liberating published science is not a crime. Hoarding it and charging a toll like a bridge troll ought to be.

    It's a good thing natural justice trumps US "law".

  • 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.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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