Tuesday, 10 January 2012

An attempt to block OA distribution of US published research findings - the RWA

The EPT has written to a number of publishers/organisations that are signed up members of the American Association of Publishers, which supports the recently presented Research Works Act (RWA) submitted to Congress as HR3699. This Act seeks to undermine the existing open access distribution of published research, via such outlets as the NIH, and is clearly a move by the publishing industry to undermine the great advances already made towards the free and fair distribution of publicly funded research findings. The EPT has written to publishers that have existing OA policies, pointing out that the RWA act is in conflict with these policies and requesting clarification and preferably dissociation from the stance taken by the AAP.

Fur further information on the RWA, follow Peter Suber’s blog on https://plus.google.com/u/0/109377556796183035206/posts/QYAH1jSJG6L

Below is an example of the letters we have sent:

"We write from the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, a long-established UK-based registered charity which works to support access to current research by the vast majority of the world’s researchers who live in low-economy countries.

The US Research Works Act currently proposed totally undermines this effort. This Act has been introduced by Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), both of whom appear to have received substantial sums of money from the publishing industry over the past few years. The Act would prevent open dissemination of publicly-funded research, undoing all the good done by the NIH open access policy and preventing the world’s disadvantaged researchers from accessing the findings from US research.

The American Association of Publishers has openly welcomed and supported the Act. Your company/organisation is a member of the AAP.  As a publisher with a mission to disseminate research as widely as possible, we would expect you to dissociate yourselves, clearly and loudly, from this proposal. Support for the RWA is clearly in direct conflict with your stated policy in support of Open Access.

Open Access has been a life-line to the researchers in developing and emerging countries, their institutes and ultimately to their national economies, providing the potential for building on past research to the benefit of the global community (think infectious diseases, all public health issues, climate change, agricultural problems, energy provision, water conservation, engineering developments . . .).

The economic returns to countries from freedom of access to global research and the developments that follow from it are vastly greater than those from the small service provided by the publishing industry. The former is almost immeasurable in comparison. This Act has been driven by those that are putting commercial gain before the health and indeed survival of many of the world’s populations. This is not the purpose of public investment in research.

Yours sincerely,

The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development

1 comment:

Electronic Publishing Trust for Development said...

For those interestd in following this issue, here is an excellent summary of the situation, from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/opinion/research-bought-then-paid-for.html?_r=1