Thursday Threads: Research Works Act, Amazon Kindle Give and Take, OCLC’s Website for Small Libraries

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I’ve been away from DLTJ Thursday Threads for a while, but that doesn’t mean the fun hasn’t stopped. This week there are stories about the beginning and the end of the Research Works Act (again, one might add), Amazon’s continuing shifts in the ebook marketplace, and an announcement of beta access to OCLC’s Website for Small Libraries service.

Federal Research Public Access Act Reintroduced

New legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week to support the publication of federally-sponsored research results under open access terms.
Sponsored by Senator Lieberman of Connecticut and co-sponsored by Senator Cornyn of Texas, it mandates open access to author pre-print versions with peer review changes in federally-run repositories within six months of publication. Called S.1373, it is a nearly identical version to the bill of the same name that these two senators introduced in 2006, which ultimately died in committee. The 2006 version was supported by a wide variety of organizations including the American Library Association, as tracked by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA).

H.R.801 Threatens Open Access Requirement for Gov’t Funded Research

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access called out the introduction of proposed legislation that would prohibit the federal government from requiring publication of federally-funded research under open access terms. This would not only reverse the NIH Public Access Policy but would also stop other federal agencies from following a similar course. This is, in my humble opinion, bad. I continue to think that open access to federally-funded research is an appropriate expectation based on the use of taxpayer money — both individual and corporate money — to fund such research. To the extent that the proposed legislation would prevent this from happening, I oppose it.