Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 02, 2007

Publishers oppose strengthening the NIH policy, again

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has released a June 25 letter from a group of society publishers to members of Congress.  The letter opposes appropriations bills now before Congress that would strengthen the NIH public access policy by converting it from a request to a requirement.

The publisher arguments are old, tired, and weak, and Congress now sees through them:  an OA mandate at NIH will kill peer review; it will violate copyright; there's no need to compromise since publishers provide all the added value here and taxpayers none of it; European countries are not really adopting similar policies; researchers don't want it; the compliance rate with the current voluntary policy is not as dismal as it looks; and bad as the proposal is, it duplicates what publishers are already doing.

I won't write a detailed rebuttal to this letter.  But for detailed rebuttals to very similar past letters, see my March 30, 2007, response to a March 26 AAP letter opposed to strengthening the NIH policy, or my May 10, 2006, response to a May 9 AAP letter opposed to FRPAA .

Note to researchers:  If your society signed this letter and didn't discuss the question first in an open forum with members, then ask your leaders why not.  Make your views known now --in blogs, discussion lists, emails to colleagues, society meetings, and society publications.  Elect leaders who consult the membership on important policy questions, who want the society to act more like a research organization than a commercial publisher, and who will stop spending society funds to lobby Congress to thwart the public interest in public access to publicly-funded research.