Advertisement
RayBiotech
RayBiotech

Open access recall?

A new bill seeks to undo the NIH mandate requiring federally-funded research papers to be made publicly available within 12 months of acceptance for publication. In a hearing yesterday (September 11) the US House Committee on the Judiciary considered whether the mandate violates publishers' copyright. The committee's chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich), sponsored the bill, linkurl:HR6845, titled the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.6845: which wo

By | September 12, 2008

A new bill seeks to undo the NIH mandate requiring federally-funded research papers to be made publicly available within 12 months of acceptance for publication. In a hearing yesterday (September 11) the US House Committee on the Judiciary considered whether the mandate violates publishers' copyright. The committee's chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich), sponsored the bill, linkurl:HR6845, titled the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.6845: which would prohibit federal agencies from requiring a transfer of copyright license for the paper resulting from federal funds. Under the current mandate, researchers give the NIH a non-exclusive license so that manuscripts can be deposited in PubMed Central. Without such a copyright license, the agency can't deposit final manuscripts into the PubMed database and all copyright is maintained, in most cases, by the publisher. The new legislation would "turn back the clock" by prohibiting the NIH from mandating public access as a condition of researchers receiving funding, according to an introductory statement by chairman of the subcommittee considering the issue, Howard Berman, Democratic representative from California. Since the mandate became law in April, submissions to PubMed Central have gone from about 2600 manuscripts per month to about 4000 manuscripts per month, according to the National Library of Medicine. And the compliance is approximately 56%. But linkurl:some publishers have opposed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54442/ the new mandate and pushed for the NIH to overturn its requirement. Four witnesses presented testimony yesterday: NIH director Elias Zerhouni, Ralph Oman, former US Register of Copyrights; Heather Joseph, director of Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC); and Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society, that publishes 14 journals. In their testimonies, Zerhouni and Joseph stressed that public access to biomedical research is essential to fully reap the rewards of investing tens of millions of federal tax dollars in research each year. In a particularly dramatic slide presented during his testimony Zerhouni showed the exponential pace of disease-linked gene discovery over the past three years based on the availability of literature in PubMed. "There is no evidence that the mandate damages" publishers' revenues, he said. Oman and Frank countered that when publishers lose their copyright, they lose the incentive to sponsor peer-review. "If publishers go out of business, we lose a valuable resource," said Oman. Frank noted that because the NIH requires final manuscripts to be deposited in PubMed, it essentially takes advantage of the "heavy lifting" that publishers have done to produce the manuscripts, by paying for the peer review process. While the hearing was relatively cordial, there was some minor mudslinging on the record: Joseph referred to the "heavy lifting" in publishing -- the cost of peer review -- as no more than the administrative costs of sending an email to peer-reviewers, and that peer review itself is free. Frank countered that of his $13 million budget to publish 14 journals, 20% is devoted to this "sending of emails." Congress adjourns later this month and is not expected to act on the bill before then.
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist

Comments

Avatar of: DAVID TRIGGLE

DAVID TRIGGLE

Posts: 4

September 12, 2008

It will be interesting to learn just how much the publishing lobby has given to members of congress - not that they would be trying to influence them of course!!!!!!!!!!
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 6

September 12, 2008

Research paid for by the US taxpayer in the form of page charges, which are incidentally marked as advertisements anyway, should be accessible by the US taxpayer that paid for them. No one is stealing work not paid for by the US Taxpayer-scientists are still free to publish are they not? If the journals don't like it, perhaps they should pay their page charge. But why shouldn't it be the scientists or their institutions that hold the copyright anyway? \n\nWhile discussing this whole issue, let's broaden our horizons to the whole issue of copyright sensibility. Copyrights are horribly abused by the copyright holder. Let's face it, why should a song, Mickey Mouse, or some esoteric journal article be protected far longer than patent protection for Lipitor(R) or Viagra(R)? Which took the far greater effort on the part of more people-the copyright or the patent? We need to wake up to the bigger picture here. We also need to realize the special interest issue here; legislators got paid off to extend Mickey Mouse protection far longer than any rational protection was needed.
Avatar of: Bradley Andresen

Bradley Andresen

Posts: 34

September 12, 2008

Martin Frank's comment regarding the cost of peer reviewing is only the tip of the iceberg. The real issue here is full blown immediate open access. If we track the money flow we will see not only the 20% figure for ?sending emails? but the majority of the not for profit publisher?s income coming from subscriptions, for profit is obviously nearly 100% from subscriptions. Much of this money flow is hidden from us in the form of overhead to the institution (that is where your library gets its money). If there is free online open access then libraries will drop subscriptions, the revenue of the organizations will drop, and then we come to two ugly choices. Choice 1: Submission and publication fees will have to skyrocket to match current income; if you look at many (but not all) open access journals you can already see that hefty price tag. Choice 2: Cut on services; this may sound benign but think of all the meetings sponsored by organizations such as Martin Frank?s APS as well as the awards, fellowships, public policy, and education programs they provide. (Note: for full disclosure I am an APS member.) Lastly, we have to ask if the government has the right to overrule long standing international copyright laws. I believe this is not a course we want to go down; however, I admit that the free articles are very helpful to scientific progress, I use them myself. \n\nIf you believe there are other choices please post them. In fact those who know the physics community may better understand their model of open access which has lowered cost and benefited everybody.\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

September 12, 2008

I think there is a problem with a system where a participant takes money to do a study from the US taxpayer and then turns around and refuses to share it with the group that helped pay for it. If I pay for something I think it is a reasonable expectation that I will be able to get something for it. \n\nIf a journal does not want to allow access after a year then they should not accept any studies that are funded in part with federal money.\n\nBut more than that the policies of locking up research behind a pay wall forever causes more immediate harm. As an individual I regularly follow the current research concerning autism - I do this because my children have autism and in an emerging field like this the best information is in the research. \n\nHowever I am frequently frustrated because I cannot obtain copies of studies - even ones that are many years old. This directly impacts my ability to have an informed opinion about the condition and hampers my ability to give my children the best care.\n\nI would not have a problem with a reasonable fee to access the content. Enough to cover the costs of service and to make a reasonable profit - but the fees are not reasonable. And when you consider my taxes have already helped pay for a lot of this research this situation becomes almost insulting. \n\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 9

September 12, 2008

Tax payers can always access research from univ. and college libraries. Are people complaining because they can't do this conveniently, i.e. via internet? \n\nAre people complaining because US tax payers are subsidizing publishers via subscriptions and page charges?\n\nIt seems to me that once something is published by whomever, it is possible to find a copy of the journal and the paper of interest. Is it the extra effort that people are complaining about.\n\nPlease help me understand the issues!\n
Avatar of: Prabhu Patil

Prabhu Patil

Posts: 3

September 13, 2008

Traditional Publishing system is like Insurance and health sector in US. Seems like Dinosours.\n\nStop these Dinosaurs from overhauling and hindering progress. They need to work out new buisness models.\n\nOpen Access will help students, teachers, policy makers, politicians, etc by giving them first hand information. 21st century is knowledge based and open access is right answer.\n\nPrabhu B. Patil PhD\nCCMB, Hyderabad Inida\n\n\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

September 13, 2008

"Tax payers can always access research from univ. and college libraries. Are people complaining because they can't do this conveniently, i.e. via internet?"\n\nFor most universities that I know of you have to have an affiliation of some sort to gain access to the material, they do not allow the public to walk in and use the materials.\n\nAnd that assumes that you even live near to a university that has the materials.\n\n"It seems to me that once something is published by whomever, it is possible to find a copy of the journal and the paper of interest."\n\nThis has not been my experience. You can normally locate a copy of the paper on the publisher's site and there are some very small amount that can be freely viewed. However, for the majority of the material you either have to pay a fee of like $35 per paper or the material simply can't be viewed by non-subscribers. So to take a common scenario, assume that you have a paper and a response to the paper and a follow up response from the author. That would be $105 on most sites.\n\nSo for me it comes back to the fact that the some of the funding for the research has paid for by tax dollars so in essence the tax payer has to pay twice.
Avatar of: Donovan Haines

Donovan Haines

Posts: 4

September 15, 2008

I think it may be wise to shift to a service model for publication of research. That is the complaint on the part of publishers - the government is trying to steal the services they provide on the way to generating the manuscript. So don't pay for articles, pay for production and potentially archival services. Yes this means extremely high page charges compared to what we are used to, but in line with actual costs.\n\nIt will also mean capitalism will come into play in a more direct way. Too expensive to produce the fancy additions present in some journals? Bare bones peer review only journals would likely crop up to get the data out more cheaply. Many would still pay a premium to get that high profile research produced by a high profile journal. The supply of money versus real need for the add-ons at more expensive journals will determine the future balance between the two.\n\nThis way you solve the underlying problem. Jane Doe trying to do research (whether to cure a disease or for a class paper or personal interest) should have full access to all publicly funded research results. It is not only a fairness principle, it is also about stimulating the future of science by removing barriers that currently are very real for folks who aren't at large research intensive universities and medical schools.\n\nCertainly this will shift a cost burden from those that currently need to access the literature (companies, university libraries, etc.) to those that generate it (higher burden on research funds) and this would need to be accounted for in federal and state budgets, a definate risk.\n\n-Donovan

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Cisbio
Cisbio
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist