The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' --Isaac Asimov
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Open Access– is there still a debate?

September 18th, 2008 by eric

Clearly, the publishers think there is. “[John] Conyers, a liberal Democrat whom one might expect to be on the other side of this issue, is taking harsh aim at a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy requiring NIH-funded scientists to archive their published papers in a publicly accessible database within a year of publication.” A recent Nature Blog post (The Great Beyond: Open access: public good or publishers’ evil?) details a seedy melange of scientific publishing houses, lobbyists, and Congress. Here’s another post at PolITiGenomics: Open access under attack.

So, clearly, we need to do something about it. Here’s one way: write to your Representatives. I did…

Representative McDermott,
As a UW graduate student in the sciences, and a constituent who is strongly in support of the advancement of science, I am writing to urge you to vote against the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (HR 6845). This bill will revoke the requirement for US taxpayer-funded research to be made accessible to those taxpayers who funded it, for the sole gain of (mostly foreign) publishing houses.  Open access to scientific research advances science in a positive feedback cycle, while limiting access for the sake of profits for a few throttles scientific advancement for many. Open access to government-funded research was a long overdue stance that provides the American taxpayer with the highest return on his or her investment. HR 6845 would undermine science and devalue the government’s investment in science. I strongly urge you to vote against HR 6845, and to consider writing a counter-proposal that would extend the NIH requirement for open access to NSF-funded research as well.  Thank you for your time.

Eric Collins
School of Oceanography
University of Washington

Here’s another way: Open Access Day – October 14, 2008. I would like to participate but there is nothing yet planned at UW. Shall I begin…?

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