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Eight UK friends of OA have written an Open Letter to Research Councils UK (August 22, 2005) supporting the draft RCUK open-access policy. The letter directly rebuts the arguments by the ALPSP in its August 5 critique of the policy.
The ALPSP critique was formerly OA but is now behind a password for ALPSP members only. For an excerpt, see my blog posting at the time. Today's open letter also recaps many of its arguments.
Excerpt from the open letter:
[T]here is a logical contradiction in the position adopted by ALPSP. On the one hand, ALPSP maintains that learned societies must be allowed to operate in a free market ("each publisher must have the right to establish the best way of expanding access to its journal content that is compatible with continuing viability"). Yet on the other hand, ALPSP is in effect asking RCUK to protect learned societies from the consequences of a free market -- specifically the right of those who have funded and produced research to make their product readily accessible for uptake by its intended users.
The open letter is signed by Tim Berners-Lee, Dave De Roure, Stevan Harnad, Nigel Shadbolt, Derek Law, Peter Murray-Rust, Charles Oppenheim, and Yorick Wilks. A longer version of the letter is signed by some non-UK friends of OA, including myself.