Publishers Opposing Federally Mandated Public Access to Research Outputs

Yesterday, March 5th 2012, the Association of American Publishers announced that 81 US publishers are opposing a new bill in both houses of Congress that would mandate all research findings from federally funded projects be publicly accessible within six months of publication. The AAP has stated their strong opposition is due to the fact that the proposed law is not flexible enough to meet the needs of all of the variety of scenarios that apply across the broad spectrum of research. They argue that a single rule is not appropriate to be applied “across the board”.

The AAP claims that they support public access to federally funding research findings, but that this specific law, H.R. 4004 and S.2096, is too broad and too invasive. While the group of publishers may make well structured arguments, this is yet another round in the “Open Research” saga that will be playing out. The controversial Research Works Act has been dead for a handful of days, and this looks as if it will become a larger and more embroiling argument.

At the same time, continuing reports of “predatory” Open Access publishers providing an “author pays” model make the alternatives to traditional publication models seem bleak. A few weeks ago, I did a short blog post on the topic of altmetrics, which aims to provide new mechanisms of measuring an individual output’s impact and importance outside of the traditional models of measurement. It is focused on social media dissemination and monitoring, among other things. Perhaps a new model of measurement is the solution to avoiding continuing controversy and argument? As the saying goes, you will value what you measure, so measure what you value.

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