Thursday, October 22, 2009
More on Open Access
A bill currently in Congress would instruct federal agencies that provide significant funds for research to ensure that the results of that publicly funded research are made public. (That's a lot of "public" in that last sentence, but hey, there's a reason for that. It's a simple equation: public funding of research = public knowledge.)
Publishers of that research - some of them for-profit organizations and others non-profit scholarly societies - are naturally wary of losing their monopoly on content and the revenues brought in by subscriptions, but libraries are having trouble sustaining increasing subscription costs and scholars have been pushing for their right to share their research. Many publishers have already agreed to let authors post copies of their work on institutional websites. (You can find out what publishers' policies are by looking them up in the SHERPA/RoMEO database.)
SPARC, an organization of librarians and scholars who are pushing for open access, have published useful guides such as one on campus collaborations for publishing and another on funding models. Though the Association of American University Presses supported a bill that would rule out open access mandates for publicly-funded research, ten presses broke ranks and issued a statement supporting open access. They've found ways to make it work for them in support of their scholarly mission.
The bill now in Congress - the Federal Research Public Access Act - is limited in scope to only a certain kind of research: that which is funded by public dollars. The National Institutes of Health has shown how this can work with PubMed Central, a clearinghouse of published research funded by NIH grants.
If you'd like to read more about it, seasoned with a dose of opinion, see the Peer to Peer Review column written by one of our librarians in Library Journal's Academic Newswire. Or visit the Alliance for Taxpayer Access site.