Thursday, January 05, 2012

Why bother with all the work? Wouldn't a gimme money law be more to the point?

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is trying to convince U.S. Congress that the whole point of federal research funding is so that they can make a profit from selling the written results in the form of journal articles.

Another way of expressing this is, if the U.S. National Institutes of Health funds a study aiming to cure cancer, the point is not so much curing the cancer, as making sure that AAP members' pockets are filled. It's not even about profit per se, as this bill would diminish the likelihood of medical services providers making money from providing services that actually help people to combat cancer.

I believe in honest, open, and transparent government. In a democracy, that means all of us - democracy is government by the people, for the people. So I call on AAP to be honest and ask that the bill be retitled, from "Research Works Act" to a "Gimme Money Act, Association of American Publishers". It is quite possible that we all could save money by just plain buying them off. Sure, it might cost a lot - but at least they wouldn't be able to stop progress by locking up the results of research funded by the public.

The Association of American Publishers Applaud “Research Works Act,” Bipartisan Legislation To End Government Mandates on Private-Sector Scholarly Publishing

Any posts I write on this topic are completely free for re-use with or without attribution by colleagues working for open access to scholarly research.