Monday, October 29, 2007

Open-access science and lobbying

A bill passed by the US House of Representatives and in front of the Senate would require any manuscripts by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health be made publicly available a year after being published. One Senator has been fighting this bill, James Inhofe (Republican-Oklahoma). (Recall that Inhofe claims that "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.")

As reports here, here, and here, the 11th biggest campaign contributor to Inhofe's campaign was publisher Reed-Elsevier. In 2006, Reed-Elsevier spent over $3 million on lobbying expenses in the United States. As well as publishing many popular atmospheric science books, Elsevier publishes the following journals: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans, Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, and Atmospheric Environment.

As Salon states from Peter Suber's reporting, the open access would for the final version of the peer-reviewed manuscript, not the published version. Also, copyright laws would not need to be amended, thus protecting the copyright holder(s).

Making accepted manuscripts that the U.S. taxpayer paid for free within a year after their publication would be a big loss in revenue for such publishers. By comparison, the AMS makes its published archives available free to all five years after being published.


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