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Librarians, Open Access Advocates Oppose Research Works Act

The newly proposed bill Research Works Act (H.R.3699) “has exacerbated tensions between open access advocates and the scholarly publishing industry over the dissemination of  publicly funded scientific and medical research.”  (M.Kelly, 1/9/12)

Incredulous and irate blog posts and editorials are appearing, in direct opposition to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), who are supportive of the bill.

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Librarians, Open Access Advocates ‘Vehemently Oppose’ Research Works Act

The Digital Shift Library Journal Blog

Michael Kelly
January 9, 2012

Essentially, the bill seeks to prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grants to require that articles reporting on publicly funded research be made accessible to the public online,” wrote Heather Joseph, the executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC),

Kevin Smith, the scholarly communications officer at Duke University, took exception on his blog to the assertions made by the publishing industry:

I am stunned by the audacity of the claim that research articles are ‘produced’ by private sector publishers!  I think the producers of these works are sitting at desks and labs scattered around my campus, and thousands of other college and university campuses.  They are not paid by publishers either to do the research or to write their articles.

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Stop Making Sense (Scholarly Publishing Edition)

ACRLog (ACRL Blog)
Association of College and Research Librarians

Maura Smale
January 6, 2012

Yesterday I was flabbergasted to read about the Research Works Act (hat tip to @CopyrightLibn and @RepoRat), legislation which is strongly supported by the Association of American Publishers. As described on the AAP website:

The Research Works Act will prohibit federal agencies from unauthorized free public dissemination of journal articles that report on research which, to some degree, has been federally-funded but is produced and published by private sector publishers receiving no such funding. It would also prevent non-government authors from being required to agree to such free distribution of these works. Additionally, it would preempt federal agencies’ planned funding, development and back-office administration of their own electronic repositories for such works, which would duplicate existing copyright-protected systems and unfairly compete with established university, society and commercial publishers.

I recommend reading the AAP’s statement in full — it’s truly head-spinning…

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Research Bought, Then Paid For

New York Times, Op-Ed Contributor
MICHAEL B. EISEN

January 10, 2012

The [NIH] policy has been quite unpopular with a powerful publishing cartels that are hellbent on denying US taxpayers access to and benefits from research they paid to produce…

This is the latest salvo in a continuing battle between the publishers of biomedical research journals like Cell, Science and The New England Journal of Medicine, which are seeking to protect a valuable franchise, and researchers, librarians and patient advocacy groups seeking to provide open access to publicly funded research.

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