Rep. Conyers, Once Again, Trying To Lock Up Federally Funded Research
from the isn't-that-a-problem? dept
So, Congress decided that any research that was funded by NIH (which funds about $30 billion in research each year) had to also be openly published one-year after it was published in the journal. It's hard to see how this damages the journals at all. They still retain a significant monopoly right on the works -- and have a year's head start. Yet, the journal publishers have been screaming bloody murder, and even trying to force academics to pay thousands of dollars to cover the "cost" of republishing the article in an open archiving database.
And, of course, those publishers have been complaining like crazy to Congress. Last year, Rep. Conyers (who also recently introduced the RIAA's preferred legislation, and was heavily backed by the American Intellectual Property Law Association in his most recent election) introduced some legislation to repeal this requirement, though the legislation went nowhere fast. However, he's wasted very little time introducing identical legislation this year.
What is held to be "unfair" in the bill is government interference with the publisher's exclusive ownership over research. This is not, however, a case of keeping the government's clumsy hand off a free market. The scholarly publishing market depends on government interference in the first instance. The government allows publishers to exercise monopoly rights over this research through copyright law, a form of market interference....Furthermore, Willinsky mentions the original, Constitutional purpose behind said copyright: "To promote the progress of science and the useful arts..." Congress gets to determine what promotes the progress, and if it's shown that open publication of publicly funded works promotes that progress, then the journals should have no argument at all. But, argue they will... so, Public Knowledge and The Alliance for Taxpayer Access are both asking people to write their elected representatives to oppose this attempt to once again lock up the very research that we all funded as taxpayers.