Obama Administration Considers More Public Access To Publicly Funded Research

from the this-is-a-good-thing,-people dept

It's hard to comprehend who could be against the idea that federally-funded research (i.e., research funded by your tax dollars) shouldn't become available to the very public who paid for it. But many publishers pushed back hard when the National Institute of Health (NIH) began enforcing a rule that required the research it funded to be published openly a year after it was published in a journal. Again, this was really incredible. Journals get all of their content for free. They do not pay the authors. The journals often claim the copyright over those works as well -- despite the lack of payment. The journals also do not pay the peer reviewers either. The biggest expenses of most publications... not even present in such academic journals. And yet they still charge huge fees for the publication itself. It's a great scam, and they don't want it to end. But even the NIH rules still give them a year's monopoly. Yet, they hated it so much that they even got Rep. John Conyers to try to pass a law ending the requirement -- which thankfully went nowhere after lots of people protested.

The good news is that it looks like the Obama administration is looking to go in the other direction. The EFF points us to the news that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is looking at ways to have this requirement go beyond just NIH and require public access for all federally funded research, including from organizations like the National Science Foundation (NSF). OSTP is asking for comments and input on the idea -- and it's an idea that makes a ton of sense. It seems likely that journal publishers will protest, but hopefully common sense will prevail and federally funded research will become open, accessible and available to everyone.

Filed Under: federal funding, open access, public access, publicly funded research


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2010 @ 5:43am

    Re: this-is-a-good-thing - or is it really?

    "1. The publishers do NOT own the work, only the exact article. Scientists commonly their work in several publications and are absolutely FREE to share their work with anyone they wish. The publisher has only the copyright on the article itself."

    If you work for a publicly funded university they often try to claim rights on the work of scientists.

    Also, journals often do claim copyright over the work. If the article itself is what the scientist put then the article is the "work" of the scientist, at least as it was printed in the publication.

    "2. The scientists are not complaining about this, so what is the beef? It is not SECRETE SCIENCE! Anyone in the public (do you not realize the scientists are members of the public?) all you need to is subsribe to the publication and you can read it first release."

    The scientists ARE complaining, it's just that YOU'RE not because the laws unfairly benefit YOU. Also, in regard to all you need to do is subscribe to the publication, THAT'S THE POINT, SUBSCRIPTION COSTS MONEY.

    "3. Moreover, anything of real value is almost instantly picked up by the general media as they HAVE subcribed to the publications. So anything really earch shattering gets out a long time before this artificial year you are talking about."

    The mainstream media is a joke in terms of what they deliver. They don't deliver any details.

    "4. The peer review process is one of the widely accepted methods for scientists the strongly challenge each others work, which is why highly rated scientists gladly review publications for free. ITS ABOUT THE SCIENCE!"

    and that's the point, publishers unfairly and unethically benefit from the works of of others.

    "While it is not a perfect system, what is portrayed in this article about scientific publications is more about what its readers want to hear than about what is really going on."

    It's interesting that you post this well after you think critics would read and criticize your work. I've noticed that becoming more of a trend lately.

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