Funding of science, Journals, Open Access, Petition, Research, science, science and society, Science communication, Science in Society
At the moment, many of the studies I write about on this blog are published by journals retain the copyright and charge access. (A notable exception is the PLoS family of journals.) The fee charged by these journals is significant, meaning people are unlikely to have access to this research except via an institute such as a university. This is problematic since much of the research that went into producing those articles was publicly funded: why should the taxpayer have to pay once to support the research and again to access the results? Why should the private publishing companies reap massive profits from publicly funded research? One solution, which I’ve mentioned before, is Open Access, the unrestricted publication of publicly funded research results online. The people at access2research have started a “We the People” petition to get the Obama administration to address this issue. They need to collect about 7,000 more signatures before June 19, so if you agree with the idea of open access to the results of taxpayer-funded research, please head over and sign the petition.
Jo Ann Abell said:
I wholeheartedly agree with sharing publicly-funded research and signed the petition, but I hope my name and email address won’t wind up on some re-election campaign email list.
Thanks for signing! Hopefully the administration will know better than to spam people who sign the petitions…
I forgot to mention another way people can help: if you support the idea, why not spread the word about this petition on your blog/facebook/twitter/tumblr/etc?
I will do just that…. (:-)
Great, thanks! 🙂
Although as a (former) scientist I support the idea of open access, I always feel the need to point out one flaw whenever this topic comes up: in its current form open access publishing is not really a solution. Currently, authors have to pay considerable fees (2000-3000 dollars typically) to the open-access publishers to get their article published. Guess where that money (ultimately) comes from? The public is still paying twice to have access to published research… I know you know this, but many people seem to be unaware of it.
In fact, it’s even worse than that; publishers are currently embracing this open access model as it generates more revenue. A certain fraction of the content of a journal’s issue will now be open access, but does this mean publishers are charging proportionally less to universities for subscriptions? I highly doubt it…
You’re absolutely correct in pointing out the problems facing Open Access. However, I don’t think we need to limit our thinking to something like the PLoS model, where authors are charged for publishing. Other options might be something similar to the arXiv which seems to have worked well for physics & math. I haven’t had the time to properly look into F1000 Research yet, but I’m hoping it will develop well. Finally, we could simply mandate that journals provide open access to material older than six months (or one year) — I don’t see why Elsevier should be profiting from publicly funded research 5 or 10 years after the fact.
At the moment, I think it’s important to make people aware that there is a problem; once we’ve accomplished that, hopefully we can come up with a workable solution.
Or….. have a “biology arxiv”. Physicists got that a ‘century’ ago! all papers are online and free of access even if the journal version is not accessible.