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Publisher Pulls Supports; 'Research Works Act' Killed 72

crabel writes "It appears the dreaded Research Works Act is dead. The bill would have prevented agencies of the federal government from requiring public access to federally subsidized research. After Elsevier pulled its support, it was decided that no legislative action will be taken on the bill." A glimmer of hope as well: "Meanwhile, attention has shifted to another proposed bill: the reintroduced Federal Research Public Access Act, which would require public access." Elsevier has vowed to battle it, however.
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Publisher Pulls Supports; 'Research Works Act' Killed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2012 @08:35PM (#39180277)

    Sign the petition(s) to the Congress

    and to the white house

    Unless you like being locked out behind a paywall from research paid with your tax dollars.

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @08:36PM (#39180297) Homepage
    and it is good to hear it is dead, but on the other hand, the man pulling the strings will most likely be pushing for something else.

    weill be a good idea to keep an eye on what this guy/group pushing this is up to
    • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

      and it is good to hear it is dead, but on the other hand, the man pulling the strings will most likely be pushing for something else.

      Or maybe not.

      As in Football, the best Defense is a good Offense.

      With the second bill introduced to MANDATE public access, Elsevier [elsevier.com] is now on their heels, trying to defend their turf, and may not have the clout to fight both fronts. They are pretty much going to have to spend their blood and treasure fighting the Federal Research Public Access Act, because if it passes anything they could propose would first have to overcome that hurdle.

      A Dutch company trying to dictate publishing policy to the US Governme

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2012 @08:59PM (#39180535)

    When you publish a paper in most peer-reviewed journals, you don't own that paper. A condition to getting published above and beyond the peer-review process is to sign over the copyright to the journal. You pay the publisher to print the article and then have to sign over the copyright. This is allowed to continue in large part because of the "publish or perish" environment in academia. The publishers can then charge excessive fees to access articles.

    Federally funded research should be in the public domain unless there's a very good reason it shouldn't be, such as legitimate national security interests. Elsevier is objecting to the FRPAA because mandating open access to federal research would prevent them from hiding it behind copyrights.

    The current system is broken in many ways. FRPAA isn't the answer, but it's a step in the right direction.

    • Mod parent Insightful.

      If the AC is correct, then it's a good fight to make most* tax-payer funded research results public domain.

      *However, there ought to be some important caveats. Any legislation which includes the words "all", "always", "never," or "none" should be looked at very carefully. Absolutes are usually not a good thing. Of course, then we have to trust the government when they tell us that this research shouldn't be released due to "National Security," but we pretty much already live in that

    • If you could keep research paid for by the US tax payers in the public domain for use only by US companies, then I would agree with you, but to make research I paid for... Free for companies/people in other countries to then turn around and use that research on products that get imported to the US is just silly.

      • by LihTox ( 754597 )

        We're talking about copyrights, not patents. A copyright doesn't prevent other companies from building on your work, it only prevents them from duplicating your words; they can still read the journal where your research is published.

        A patent is what prevents other people from using your ideas in their own inventions.

        • We who? Because the second paragraph has nothing to do with copyrights.

          • by Tim C ( 15259 )
            And copyrights have nothing to do with preventing foreign companies from using the results of research - or do you imagine that those copyrighted journals are available only in the US, cannot be exported, are only able to be read by US citizens, etc?

            That was his point - copyrighted or not, others are free to use the results of the research. If you want to prevent that (which as others have pointed out would be astoundingly short-sighted) then you need to patent it (which for pure research may well not ev
    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      Why don't we get a bunch of geeks together to fix this?

      Assemble a crew of people from particular fields to make a paper-publishing website. Get a kickstarter going after you have a couple dozen prominent men and women from different scientific fields on board. Start with those fields, grow, and then add more and more fields. As the reputation grows it'll be easier to get other fields to hop on board. In 5-10 years it will be the place to get academic papers published.

  • This is very probably the result of a widespread boycott of Elsevier started by Cambridge mathematician Timothy Gowers and other researchers. Supporting RWA was one of the reasons they were fed up with Elsevier.

    How it all started: http://gowers.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/elsevier-my-part-in-its-downfall/ [wordpress.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget Tyler Neylon who set up http://thecostofknowledge.com/. 7500 academics pledging to boycott Elsevier.

      With help from the hilarious Elfsevier http://twitter.com/#!/Elfsevier and of the bully FakeElsevier http://twitter.com/#!/FakeElsevier who was accused of single handedly bullying a multibillion dollar corporation.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Almost certainly Gowers boycott had a significant effect. Here is a letter that Elsevier posted to the math community today.

      A letter to the mathematics community.
      We are writing to let you know of a series of changes that we are making to how the Elsevier mathematics program will be run. Some of these are new initiatives, and some reflect changes that we have been working on over a longer period.

      We have been listening actively to the community and we see a number of issues that we need to address, not least

  • If people want to keep up with this are aren't, following fakeelsevier on twitter is a humour way to so do. I for myself am not sure how all this is going to turn out. Publishing is not as expensive as it used to be, and much of the work to publish is essentially funded by grants and unpaid, so there is good arguments to made that publicly funded non profits consortiums can and probably should handle most of the heavy lifting. Libraries receiving a glossy magazine that researchers then have to manually c
  • Seems appropriate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elashish14 ( 1302231 ) <profcalc4&gmail,com> on Monday February 27, 2012 @09:17PM (#39180729)

    As anyone who has ever done research before would know, the name of the bill is a total fabrication. Good riddance.

  • The statement "The bill, HR 3699, would have prevented agencies of the federal government from requiring public access to federally subsidized research. " sounds like the bill would have prevented the requirement that federally funded research be public? I must have my head up my ass again...
  • So, there is yet one more reason to boycott the Dutch bandits at Elsevier? Bastards. Join the boycott at http://thecostofknowledge.com/ [thecostofknowledge.com]
  • Looks like the Elsevier boycott [thecostofknowledge.com] by academics had an effect. Still, this looks like more of a tactical response than a real change in position for Elsevier.
  • "After Elsevier pulled its support, it was decided that no legislative action will be taken on the bill."

    Is that all it takes to push a bill, the support of one company ?

    • Yes, I was pretty shocked by that detail as well. Maybe it's because I'm European, but I thought laws were made by lawmakers and, even though companies could be allowed to do some lobbying, the lawmakers were the ones who made the decision based on objective reasoning, like wise men. In reality, apparently, it's companies that decide whether to "support" laws (by buying congressmen to vote for it) or kill them (by buying congressmen to vote against it). It doesn't even appear to strike most slashdot users a
  • I laughed. I cried. Then I just laughed.

    http://publishers.org/researchworksFAQ/ [publishers.org]

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!