Friday, January 04, 2008

NIH Mandate: publisher opposition

The Association of American Publishers has issued a press release clearly indicating plans to continue fighting the NIH public access mandate. For the full press release and a very thorough rebuttal, see Peter Suber's Open Access News.

One of the points raised is a call for further public consultation and comments. Hmmm...there hasn't been enough debate about the merits of OA yet? Really?

Not a problem! I wouldn't mind seeing more discussion about debate about OA policy, not at all. Let's open up discussion about the allowance for a 12-month embargo, for example. This is more than generous to the diminishing portion of the publishing community which prefers not to adapt to an open access environment. If it's not appreciated, why not eliminate provision for the embargo? There are many gold and green publishers who can provide the needed coordination of peer review, without the embargo. The AAP might wish to argue that this limits the intellectual freedom of researchers, but this is argument is not correct. Researchers who do not wish to comply with any of the requirements of funding agencies (they have many, not just OA dissemination of results), need not seek funding. Or, they can accept funding, and work with colleagues to start up their own journals!

Come to think of it - the start-up time for a new journal might correlate fairly well with the time it takes to receive a grant, conduct the research and write up the results for publication - especially if there are a number of researchers in your field in the same situation with the same incentive to create change.

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