Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elsevier Boycott and Federal Research Public Access Act 2012

You may well ask what does the current Elsevier Boycott and the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 have in common?  In fact, one of the driving forces for the boycott was a reaction to the support by Elsevier for the Research Works Act.   The originator of the boycott, mathematician, Timothy Gowers, states on his website, Cost of Knowledge that “they [Elsevier] support measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information.”
The Research Works Act is sponsored by commercial publishers who seek to prevent the National Institute of Health from making peer-reviewed commercially published articles written by its grant recipients freely available after a 12 month embargo, and to stop any federally funded agency from starting a similar practice.    The Research Works Act would not only reverse the NIH mandate enacted in 2009, but specifically would prevent any federal funded research being made openly accessible to the public

The boycott has gathered more than  6,000 signatures, and on February 9th a bipartisan bill was introduced in both the House and Senate on February 9th  that would lead to much greater access to federally funded research and is in direct opposition to the Research Works Act.  The Federal Research Public Access Act 2012 (HR 4004 and SB2096) would extend to all other federal agencies that fund research, the very successful efforts of the NIH to make articles available six months after publication.  Please support for FRPAA 2012 and let Congressional members know that you favor making federally funded research accessible to the taxpayers who paid for it, and to scholars, such as yourselves,  who want to build upon it.  If you want to know more about the issue, you will find a list below of articles that have appeared in the popular press. 

I have been covering this issue on my Scholarly Communication blog for a number of years and many faculty have heard me talk about the advantages of open access to federally funded research.  If you feel you have sufficient knowledge and want to support open access for federally funded research, please contact your House and Senate representatives and let them know you support FRPAA 2012.  If you need contact information, the Minnesota delegation will be found here:
Thank you for supporting this critical legislation.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  If you want to read more, here are some additional resources:

New York Times – Research Bought and Paid For, Jan. 10, 2012

Chronicle of Higher EducationBill would  Require Public Access to Taxpayer Supported Research, Feb. 9, 2012  

ScientistOpen Access for All?, Feb. 14, 2012

Economist – “ The Price of Information”  , Feb. 4, 2012

Information Today – “The Cost of Knowledge Versus Elsevier”, Feb. 13, 2012

New York Times“Research Bought then Paid For,” Jan. 11, 2012

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