Friday, January 06, 2012

Cengage Learning VERSUS the free web and public access to research funded by the public

Dear Cengage: consider this a wake-up call. Your library customers care very much about access to information and freedom of information. Please retract your support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) as soon as possible, and denounce the actions of your membership association, the Association of American Publishers, in supporting the Research Works Act which, if passed, would be a significant blow to dissemination of research funded by the public in the public interest.

Dear Cengage customers: note that Cengage's major competitors are not on the list of SOPA supporters or members of the Association of American Publishers. Please consider adding support for fair and balanced copyright law to your list of required criteria for acquisitions.  

Cengage Learning (also known as Gale) is among the supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act, arguably the worst thing ever to happen to the internet, as explained by gizmodo

Cengage Learning is also one of the members of the Association of American Publishers which lauds the Research Works Act, which would forbid the U.S. government to require public access to the results of research that it funds. If passed, this bill would be a huge blow to the public interest. For details and action, see the Alliance for Taxpayer Access site

Cengage Learning is a major supplier of information to libraries. The information resources actually produced by Cengage are works for hire, such as the Dictionary of Literary Biography, which are not at all affected by funding agencies public access requirements. Cengage does absolutely none of the actual work involved in coordinating peer review and copyediting of scholarly works.

Unlike commercial scholarly publishers, Cengage works in the area of aggregation, and has major competitors. I am not seeing the names of Cengage competitors on the list of SOPA supporters or AAP members.

Comments from Cengage Learning are most welcome, and will be published here if received. Please send via e-mail to hgmorris at sfu dot ca