Public Access – the Debate Continues

In the US today, publishing powerhouse Elsevier changed course and withdrew its support of HR 3699, the Research Works Act, introduced by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on Dec. 16th. Elsevier said, “While we continue to oppose government mandates in this area, Elsevier is withdrawing support for the Research Work Act itself.” The Elsevier announcement did not directly refer to the more than 7,500 researchers who have signed The Cost of Knowledge boycott of Elsevier.

Hours later, Reps. Issa and Maloney issued a statement in which they announced that they will not be pursuing further legislative action on HR 3699, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Both Elsevier and Reps. Issa and Maloney referenced open access journals as a bit of a wave of the future. In the UK, the government has recently jumped on the open access band wagon as well, in the Dec. 2011 publication Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth. The Wellcome Trust requires research papers funding in whole or in part with its awards to be deposited with PubMed Central and UK PubMed Central within 6 months. In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently announced their support for public access to the results of NHMRC-funded research.

Publication policies of an array of government and foundation funders with respect to open access is documented in Sherpa Juliet, maintained by the SHERPA Partnership, based at the University of Nottingham.

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