Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Comments on the Conyers bill, #4

Here are some more comments from the press and blogosphere on the re-introduction of the Conyers bill (a.k.a. Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, HR 801), which would overturn the OA policy at the NIH.  Also see our past collections (1, 2, 3).

From The Last Psychiatrist:

...Open access articles isn't nearly as big a threat to publishers as simply unbundling the journals from each other, letting universities decide which ones to buy....

But wait: [the Conyers bill blocks] the open access policy of the NIH that was put in place last year.  Why weren't researchers putting their stuff up on the internet before that, anyway? ...

From Peter Murray at Disruptive Library Technology Jester:

...This is, in my humble opinion, bad. I continue to think that open access to federally-funded research is an appropriate expectation based on the use of taxpayer money both individual and corporate money to fund such research. To the extent that the proposed legislation would prevent this from happening, I oppose it....

From the open letter to the House Judiciary Committee from 10 library associations, scientific publishers, public interest groups (AALL, ALA, ASCB, ACRL, ARL, GWLA, PK, PLoS, SPARC, and SLA):

...H.R.801 presupposes that the NIH Public Access Policy undermines the rights of the author and conflicts with U.S. copyright law. As library organizations and allies we fully respect copyright law and the protection it affords content creators, content owners, and content users. NIH-funded research is copyrightable and copyright belongs to the author. The NIH Policy requires only the grant of a non-exclusive license to NIH, fully consistent with federal policies such as Circular A- 110 and Circular A-102. This policy leaves the author free to transfer some or all of the exclusive rights under copyright to a journal publisher or to assign these anywhere they so choose. Attached please find an issue brief detailing how the NIH Public Access Policy does not affect copyright law.

The NIH Public Access Policy advances science, improves access by the public to federally funded research, provides for effective archiving strategies for these resources, and ensures accountability of our federal investment. Given the proven success of the revised NIH Public Access Policy and the promise of public access to federally funded research, we firmly oppose H.R.801 and ask that you do the same. Thank you for considering the stake and position of the key constituencies in this discussion.

From Fernando Pereira at Earning My Turns:

...Not again! How is Conyers different here from Santorum, who wanted to close open access to weather data to protect commercial weather data interests? We pay for this knowledge to be created with our taxes. We should not pay again some private party to get access to it. A private party that has most of its editorial work done by academics whose salaries are paid by tuition and by (directly or indirectly) government research grants. If bailout is a bad word, we have been bailing out scientific and technical publishers for decades now. That's why I refuse to review submissions to any closed access journal, and I write that to its editor when I am asked....