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.

NIH Mandatory Open Access Provision Becomes Law

President George W. Bush signs into law H.R. 2764, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008, also known at the omnibus, making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, after boarding Air Force One Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007. White House photo by Chris Greenberg
President George W. Bush signs into law H.R. 2764, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008, also known at the omnibus, making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, after boarding Air Force One Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007. White House photo by Chris Greenberg

Update 20071227T1147 : Title of the post changed to reflect the certainty of the bill being signed into law. Via Peter Suber’s Open Access News comes word from the Washington Post that President Bush signed the bill yesterday. Congratulations to the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and all those involved in making this happen. I’m sure we’ll be following the outcomes and impacts of this law for years to come.

Support Public Access to Research Funded by the National Institutes of Health


The blogosphere is abuzz with what would seem to be the final hurdle for open access to taxpayer funded research by the National Institutes of Health. Over the course of the summer, advocates for public access to this research successfully added provisions to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that mandate deposit of manuscripts into PubMed Central no later than one year after publication when NIH funds were used to conduct the research. That legislation passed the house, and this afternoon the full Senate is considering amendments to its version of the appropriations bill. On Friday, Senator Inhofe filed two amendments that would either be strike the mandatory public access provisions from the bill, or modified the existing policy a way that would severely limit its effectiveness.

More on Commercial Versus Not-For-Profit Open Access Publishing

DLTJ featured a discussion last month on what I saw as the outcomes of “clashing values” between the interest of businesses and that of not-for-profit higher education. The discussion started with “Educational Patents, Open Access Journals, and Clashing Values” and continued with a focus on open access publishing specifically with “What Is BioMed Central?.” Here is a update on the topic in the form of an e-mail from Ray English and a press release from Marquette Books.

Ray English’s Perspective on Open Access Publisher Economics

What Is BioMed Central?

My posting on Friday about the clashing values of academic institutions and businesses prompted a comment from Bill Hooker about linking to his blog posting about the pricing structure at BioMed Central (BMC). His comment and the e-mail I received this morning from BMC (reproduced below) got me rethinking about the nature of open access publishing.

What is BioMed Central?

Educational Patents, Open Access Journals, and Clashing Values

This posting has two goals — first, to introduce DLTJ readers to the notion of “Educational Patents” or “edupatents” and provide an update on events of this week. Second, to frame the sometimes contentious interaction between academic institutions and supporting businesses as one of “clashing values.” The former serves as a cautionary tale within the wider scope of the latter.

Educational Patents

Article-Level OAI-PMH Harvest Available from DOAJ

Earlier this year the DOAJ began offering a new schema for registered articles that significantly improves the value of OAI-PMH harvested article content. Prior to this addition the only scheme available was Dublin Core, which as a metadata schema for describing article content is woefully inadequate. (Dublin Core, of course, was never designed to handle the complexity of the description of an average article.) The new schema (graphically represented here
doajArticles schema image — select thumbnail to see a larger version) includes elements for ISSN/eISSN, volume/issue, start/end page numbers, and author affiliation. There is also a <fullTextUrl> element that is a link to the article content itself (not the splash page of the article on the publisher’s site).

Petition for Public Access to Publicly Funded Research in the U.S.

As others have noted, there is now an online petition in support of public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The text of the petition is short:

We, the undersigned, believe that broad dissemination of research results is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge. For America’s taxpayers to obtain an optimal return on their investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible. Yet too often, research results are not available to researchers, scientists, or the members of the public. Today, the Internet and digital technologies give us a powerful means of addressing this problem by removing access barriers and enabling new, expanded, and accelerated uses of research findings.