[Taxacom] Access to US Federally funded data?
neale at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Sep 19 20:33:24 CDT 2008
At 12:10 PM +1100 9/20/08, Jim Croft wrote:
>received this bit of unsolicited spam this morning but it seems to be legit.
>is the issue real?
>one of the more enlightened things to come out of the US legislature
>was the principle that if the government of the people paid for data,
>information and the tools to manage it then the people owned these
>assets and the people must have free and open access to them.
>is this about to change?
An article on this just appeared in this week's Science.
Science 19 September 2008:
Vol. 321. no. 5896, p. 1621
NEWS OF THE WEEK
House Weighs Proposal to Block Mandatory 'Open Access'
A controversial policy requiring researchers to make their papers
freely available to the public at a U.S. National Institutes of
Health (NIH) Web site is facing a potential roadblock. Last week,
members of a powerful House committee held the first-ever
congressional hearing on the policy and floated a proposal to
Three years ago, NIH began asking grantees to send the agency copies
of their accepted, peer-reviewed manuscripts so that it can post them
in its full-text PubMed Central archive within 12 months after they
are published. But compliance was so poor that proponents of the idea
persuaded the House and Senate appropriations committees to tell NIH
to make the policy mandatory (Science, 18 January, p. 266). Many
publishers protested, complaining that the "public access" policy
infringes on their copyrights and will put them out of business by
cutting into their subscription base.
These critics have now found allies on the House Judiciary Committee.
Last week at a 2-hour review of the policy, members of its
Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property
grumbled that by changing copyright rules, appropriators had
overstepped their jurisdiction. Members heard testimony from both
sides of the debate.
Paper chase. More authors have been submitting their articles to NIH
since its public-access policy became mandatory in April.
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni argued that NIH simply wants to "maximize
the return of our investment" of $400,000 per research grant. He
emphasized that PubMed Central is enhancing the papers by linking
them to other databases. "The real value is in the full
connectivity," not "the passive document" in archives, he said. He
noted that compliance with NIH's rule has risen since it took effect
in April: Submissions are on track to reach 56% of the 80,000
eligible papers per year, many submitted directly by journals (see
graph, above). "There is no evidence that this has been harmful" to
publishers, he argued. Open Access advocate Heather Joseph of the
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition in Washington,
D.C., agreed. She argued that journals lose little by posting "old"
papers 12 months after publication and noted that the policy applies
to only NIH-funded studies.
Others disagreed. Law professor Ralph Oman of George Washington
University in Washington, D.C., argued that NIH's policy is a
"dilution of the rights of the copyright owners" and "will destroy
the commercial market" for science and technology journals.
A bill introduced by Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI)
would bar any federal agency from requiring "the transfer or license"
to the government of a work that has been produced in part with
nongovernment funds or to which value has been added by the publisher
through peer review. The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (HR
6845) would mean grantees could not be required to submit accepted
papers to a free archive.
Congress is not expected to act on the legislation before it adjourns
later this month. Jonathan Band, a Washington, D.C., attorney who
represents the American Library Association, which favors open
access, says the bill is fatally flawed because of its sweeping
provisions. "It goes far beyond the NIH policy. It limits a lot of
what the federal government can do," he says. But Allan Adler, legal
affairs director for the Association of American Publishers, which
supports the bill, expects that both the House and Senate Judiciary
Committees will examine the issue again next year. "This is really
the beginning," Adler says.
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