Publicly Funded Research Category

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Major University and Library Associations back the NIH Policy

The Association of American Universities (AAU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) have released their February 19 letter to the House Judiciary Committee, supporting the NIH policy and opposing the Conyers bill

The major university associations in the US have joined the major library associations in supporting the NIH policy.

Exerpt from the Feb. 13th letter endorsed by major library associations:

Scientific research is advanced by broad dissemination of knowledge, and the subsequent building upon the work of others. To this end, the NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the results of our nation’s $29 billion annual investment in research reach the broadest possible audience. The Policy requires that, in exchange for receiving federal research dollars, grantees deposit the final electronic manuscript of their peer-reviewed research results into PubMed Central, NIH’s digital archive, to be made publicly available within 12 months – and was specifically implemented in full compliance with current U.S. copyright law.

The NIH Policy achieves several notable goals: First, it ensures broad public access to the results of NIH’s funded research, allowing scientists and researchers to collaborate and engage in cutting-edge research. Such access allows for greater sharing of information, speeding discovery, medical advances, and innovations.

Second, the NIH Policy ensures that the U.S. government has a permanent archive of these critical, publicly funded biomedical research results, ensuring that results can be built upon by not only this generation, but also future generations, of researchers.

Finally, the Policy creates a welcome degree of accountability and transparency, which enable us to better manage our collective investments in the NIH research portfolio and ensure the maximum possible benefits to the public in return.

To read about what people are writing in the blogosphere about the Conyers Bill, visit Open Access News at:

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2009/02/more-comments-on-conyers-bill-6.html

[Some text for this blog entry was excerpted from Peter Suber, Open Access News]

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Misunderestimating Open Science

James Boyle, Misunderestimating Open Science, Financial Times, Feb. 24, 2009

Excerpt:

It is hard for politicians to do anything that would shock me but I have to say that John Conyers, a US Congressman, has done it. In the process, he has taught us a lot about how far we have to go, all over the world, before we get our science policy right. Since science and technology are major engines of growth, that is a point of pressing interest for governments everywhere.

Rep. Conyers has introduced a bill, misleadingly called the ”Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” that would eviscerate public access to taxpayer funded research. The bill is so badly drafted that it would also wreak havoc on federal information policy more generally. It is supported by the commercial science publishers, but opposed by a remarkable set of groups — ranging from the American Research Libraries, to 33 Nobel Prize Winners, to a coalition of patients’ rights organizations. (One of its many negative effects would be effectively to forbid the the US National Institutes of Health from allowing the taxpayers who have paid for medical research actually to read the results for free, hurting not only the progress of science, but informed medical decisions by patients and their families.)

As a copyright professor, I have to say the bill is a nightmare. For reasons I won’t bore you with, its limitations on Federal agencies are completely unworkable. And as a scholar who writes about innovation, I have to say that it flies in the face of decades of research which shows the extraordinary multiplier effect of free access to information on the speed of scientific development. But speaking as a human being, I just have to wonder what could be going through a politician’s head at a moment like this.

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Framing the Open Access Debate

Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, Mar. 2, 2009

Excerpt:

…Now let’s look at the phrase, “open access.”  Open is about visibility, transparency, and freedom.  Its antithesis is “closed access” which is often used to describe subscription-access.  We are shut out, kept in the dark, barred from access.  Subscriptions are about denying freedom.

You will note that this implies something very different than the phrase “free access,”  which does not assume access as a right, but as a privilege.  In this frame, access is a gift that someone else paid for and something for which we should be grateful.  Free, as in “free beer.”

“Open access” has a long history as a frame, but it did not originate in the open access movement. Rather, it comes from the politics of democracy.  We need open access to government records and the dealings of our elected officials.  Without transparency, accountability is impossible.

…The more I think about open access, I’m coming to realize this debate is not about science or economics or business models.  Open access is about policy, and policy is rooted deeply in core values.  The language simply reflects those deeply held values.  Open access advocates will continue to accuse publishers (as a group) of being uncaring and working against the public good.  In turn, publishers will continue to accuse open access advocates of being irrational ideologues.

One thing is clear — this debate was never about science.

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In Boost for NIH Policy, Major Autism Research Organization Mandates Public Access

excerpt:

When the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created its groundbreaking public access policy this year, advocates expressed the belief that it the policy would spread, and other major research organizations would follow. Today, Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization, became the first U.S.-based non-profit advocacy organization to develop a public access requirement.

As of December 3, all researchers accepting grants from the organization will be required to deposit any resulting peer-reviewed research papers in the PubMed Central online archive, and make them available to the public within 12 months of journal publication.

Positive reinforcement
The move constitutes significant—and very public—support of the NIH public access policy. In 2007, Autism Speaks committed an unprecedented $30 million in new research funding to autism research. It has also generated significant attention to its cause via outreach efforts and resources for families. And, the group clearly has friends in Congress. Last year, Congress approved full funding of the Combating Autism Act, providing $162 million for programs at the NIH, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

by Andrew Albanese — Library Journal Academic Newswire, 11/13/2008

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Publisher-Author Agreements and the NIH Public Access Policy

ARL News Release from: August 15, 2008

Washington DC–The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released “PubMed Central Deposit and Author Rights: Agreements between 12 Publishers and the Authors Subject to the NIH Public Access Policy,” by Ben Grillot, MLS (Maryland 2002), second-year student at the George Washington University Law School, and legal intern for ARL.

To help authors make informed choices about their rights, Grillot compares how the agreements of 12 publishers permit authors to meet the requirements of the recently revised National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy and share their works while they are under embargo. The NIH Public Access Policy requires authors of NIH-funded research to deposit their works in PubMed Central and make them publicly available within 12 months of publication.

Grillot focuses his analysis on how the agreements differ in: the terms and procedures of deposit of the work, the length of any embargo period, and the rights of the author to use and share the work during the embargo period. Grillot presents summary tables that clearly show the similarities and differences across agreements. He also analyzes the implications of these agreements.

Grillot concludes that the significant variability in publisher agreements requires authors with NIH funding to closely examine publisher agreements and the rights granted and retained when deciding where to publish their research. His analysis of these 12 agreements will help authors determine what to look for in an agreement and what questions to ask before signing.

“PubMed Central Deposit and Author Rights” is available for free download from the ARL Web site at http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/grillot-pubmed.pdf

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Progress Towards Public Access to Science – Harold Varmus on NIH Policy

Harold Varmus, Progress toward Public Access to Science, PLoS Biology, April 8, 2008. An editorial.

Varmus is the President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, co-founder of the Public Library of Science, former director of the NIH (1993-1999), and the 1989 Nobel laureate for physiology or medicine.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is about to cross an important threshold. Starting April 7th, the authors of research reports that describe work supported by the NIH will be required to deposit accepted manuscripts into PubMed Central (PMC), the NIH’s public digital library of full-text articles, with the understanding that the articles will be freely available for all to view no later than 12 months after publication.

This is a landmark event from several perspectives. Most obviously, it further accelerates the world-wide movement toward greater access to the scientific literature, markedly increasing the number of articles freely available to read online. By taking this step, the NIH will join other funding agencies—including the Wellcome Trust, the UK Research Councils, the European Research Council, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute—all of which have recently required their investigators to deposit publications in PMC or equivalent public libraries, such as UKPMC, within six months to a year. Since NIH-supported investigators publish about 80,000 papers each year, many of them in journals that currently do not contribute their articles to PMC, the library will soon grow at about twice its already impressive rate. With an enlarged PMC, the virtues of full-text searches and ready access will be more obvious, encouraging still greater participation by authors of work not funded by the agencies that mandate deposition. As we all know, scientists want their work to be found, read, and cited.

The new NIH policy is especially gratifying to those of us who founded the Public Library of Science eight years ago with the goal of promoting greater access to and better use of the scientific literature through libraries like PMC. Still, not all articles in PMC are accessible on the same terms or timelines, and the public libraries and the laudable new policies from funding agencies still fall short of the full potential envisioned for a digital world of science. For articles in traditional, subscription-based journals, there is normally a six- to 12-month interval between publication and posting for public access. For that reason, the libraries are inherently archival—they are useful for searching relatively recent papers, but not for browsing most of the world’s newly published work. Furthermore, not every important new article will have been supported by enlightened funding agencies and fall within the reach of their mandates; those may not appear in PMC at all. The libraries are also limited as archives—the new policy is not retroactive, and few of the journals that participate in PMC have contributed their older papers. This is a pity, given the potential for preserving our scientific legacy in a searchable, digital form, especially at a time when most academic libraries are placing their old paper volumes in distant warehouses. So, for various reasons, the public libraries will remain incomplete, even with respect to recent work, until all authors—and publishers—commit to ensuring access to their work. Finally, unless authors modify their copyright agreements with journals before publication—something they are urged to do—journals will continue to retain inappropriate control over the use of their articles, which is currently confined largely to reading online for most articles in PMC.

In contrast, open-access journals, like those published by PLoS or BioMed Central, make their articles immediately and freely available in PMC, eliminating any extra work by the authors and any delay before the articles are fully accessible. Furthermore, these journals permit far greater use of their articles, by allowing readers to explore and reuse the texts under the terms of a Creative Commons license. These degrees of freedom are possible because access and use do not diminish revenues: open-access publishers recover their costs upfront, frequently by charging a publication fee that is paid from research expenses, rather than with subscription charges to libraries and readers. Thus the distribution and reuse of open-access content can be without limit, just as scientists and the public would wish.

The issue of ownership of published scientific papers is a vexing one, and it could pose difficulties for another recent and exciting initiative that promises to enlarge access to scholarly work. Last month, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted unanimously to require that its members provide the university with a nonexclusive license to post all their accepted articles on an openly accessible, university-maintained Web site. Because the policy might prevent some faculty, especially scientists, from publishing in journals that will not allow early free access, the policy was written to include an “opt-out” provision. This is, of course, not ideal, but much better than a policy that asks faculty to “opt-in.” Moreover, the nuisance of writing to the Provost every time a desired journal refuses to conform to the Harvard policy may cause faculty members to rethink their choice of venue, thereby minimizing use of the “opt-out” option.

As savvy journals will soon recognize, if faculty members choose to publish in other journals to comply with the new Harvard policy, the consequences will be significant—to be respected, journals need respected authors. Nevertheless, in a news article about the new Harvard policy in Science, former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, the chief lobbyist for the Association of American Publishers, says that, in view of the policy, “publishers may not be quite as excited to take articles from Harvard”[1]. This seems very unlikely, especially if the Harvard FAS is joined by other Harvard faculties and those on other prestigious campuses, where similar policies are under consideration.

The ownership issues are also not new. A decade ago, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences proposed that the nation’s academic work could be made more widely available through posting on university web sites. In a subsequent Policy Forum in Science [2], the authors of the Academy report recognized that this could not happen without recommended reform of copyright practices. Unfortunately, little progress has been made, largely because, then as now, traditional publishers fear major losses of subscription revenues if their journals’ articles are made freely available at the time of publication. Such losses are, of course, not going to occur if only some Harvard professors post their work in the university repository; but signs now point to more widespread participation in the United States, and some European institutions have already adopted such practices.

Open-access publishing offers a way out of this dilemma in academia, just as it offers solutions to the shortcomings of public libraries like PMC. When costs of publication are recovered from publishing fees instead of from subscriptions, and when authors retain copyrights and grant licenses to publishers, both of which happen with open-access publishing, then articles can be placed immediately in open university repositories (or in public libraries) without threats to revenues or infringements of ownership. We at PLoS celebrate these principles, while also applauding the new policies at Harvard, the NIH, and elsewhere, as welcome signs of continued progress toward public access to research literature.

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NIH Public Access web site

NIH has put together a web site to explain compliance and provide instructions on submission guidelines. Submission takes about 10 minutes, but there are also many journals that do the submission to PubMed automatically.

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit journal articles that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/). The Policy requires that these articles be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.

For Submission process, policy details, and FAQ, visit: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/

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What’s Next, Post-NIH Mandate?

Robin Peek, What’s Next Post Mandate? A preprint of her Focus on Publishing column to appear in the March issue of Information Today. The preprint will come down at the end of February and the postprint will go up three months after publication. Excerpt:

…NIH tells submitters that: “Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows the article to be submitted to NIH in accordance with the Public Access Policy.’ However what the NIH does not explain how the mandate will work with publishers who are not already in compliance with the guidelines. The NIH notes that,” Institutions and investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with this Policy.

Peter Suber, author of the SPARC Open Access News, observes “the policy makes no exceptions for dissenting publishers, does not depend on publisher consent, and simply requires grantee compliance. This clearly implies that if a publisher does not accommodate the NIH policy, and grantees cannot obtain special permission to comply with it, then they must look for another publisher.” …

One thing to keep in mind is that not all publishers object to this law as a good number of biomedical research journals…[already] submit [their articles] to PMC. Despite the strongly worded press releases from the major lobbying groups such the Association of American Publishers and the STM Publishers vowing to keep up the fight opposing the law…fighting the Congress and the President really has become old and its time to move on to other things. For example, Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society, noted in a January 11, 2008 issue of Science. ‘Journals will have to step up their policing by asking NIH to remove articles that have been mistakenly posted because they are still under embargo or are too old to fall under the policy.”

The later part is just plain strange –where is logic of vanquishing the items submitted voluntarily? I am sorry, when did this become as issue? …I wish that the enlightened publishers who are already successfully working with the voluntary policy try to positively influence the implementation plan and not participate with publishing lobbies who provide us with more silly side street distractions.

But with the law will come the necessity to charge up the education machine. As Heather Joseph, the Director of SPARC stated in an interview with LJ Newswire: “In terms of the immediate future, librarians are going to be extremely busy educating their administrators, faculty members, researchers, and students as to how to comply with the policy, and also on what it means to each constituency. Successful implementation of this policy must be a high priority for the coming year.” …

Open Access News, February 3, 2008

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So Close, Yet Still so Far? Bill Containing NIH Public Access Provision Is Vetoed

President Bush this week vetoed the recently passed Labor, Health and Human Services (LSSA) domestic spending bill. It contained a mandatory public access policy for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While an override vote has yet to be scheduled, the bill passed in both chambers just shy of the two-thirds majorities needed, making an override highly unlikely.

The veto means publishers opposed to the public access policy are likely to get one more shot to try to remove or amend the policy during negotiations. Although the bill was vetoed for its overall spending, the White House’s “Statement of Administration Policy” (SAP) memo “noted” that any NIH policy “should balance the benefit of public access to taxpayer supported research against the possible impact that grant conditions could have on scientific research publishing, scientific peer review and on the United States’ longstanding leadership in upholding strong standards of protection for intellectual property.” That mention suggests those opposed to the policy could have another, albeit remote, opportunity to revise or slash the policy. Supporters say that heavy bipartisan support for the policy suggest it will survive intact, though advocates for the policy are urging supporters to contact their representatives.

The NIH public access policy, strongly supported by libraries for years, would require researchers to deposit their final articles in the NIH’s PubMed Central database to be made freely available within a year as a condition of grant funding.

Library Journal Academic Newswire, Nov. 15, 2007

Related article:
Bush Vetos Bill that Contains NIH Open Access Mandate – but there is hope it will eventually pass!

President Bush has vetoed the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill, which contained the NIH open access mandate.

Here’s the open access mandate in the bill:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

However, there is still hope for the Bill to pass. Read Peter Suber’s analysis of the President’s veto:

* First, don’t panic. This has been expected for months and the fight is not over. Here’s a reminder from my November newsletter: “There are two reasons not to despair if President Bush vetoes the LHHS appropriations bill later this month. If Congress overrides the veto, then the OA mandate language will become law. Just like that. If Congress fails to override the veto, and modifies the LHHS appropriation instead, then the OA mandate is likely to survive intact.” (See the rest of the newsletter for details on both possibilities.)
* Also expected: Bush vetoed the bill for spending more than he wants to spend, not for its OA provision.
* Second, it’s time for US citizens to contact their Congressional delegations again. This time around, contact your Representative in the House as well as your two Senators. The message is: vote yes on an override of the President’s veto of the LHHS appropriations bill. (Note that the LHHS appropriations bill contains much more than the provision mandating OA at the NIH.)
* The override votes—one in each chamber—haven’t yet been scheduled. They may come this week or they may be delayed until after Thanksgiving. But they will come and it’s not too early to contact your Congressional delegation. For the contact info for your representatives (phone, email, fax, local offices), see CongressMerge.
* Please spread the word!

From:DigitalKoans, Nov. 13, 2007

News Release from October 24th, when the US Senate Approved the Bill

Full U.S. Senate Approves Bill Containing Support for Access To Taxpayer-Funded Research

Washington, D.C. – October 24, 2007 – The U.S. Senate last night approved the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including a provision that directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting participation by researchers. The bill will now be reconciled with the House Appropriations Bill, which contains a similar provision, in another step toward support for public access to publicly funded research becoming United States law.

“Last night’s Senate action is a milestone victory for public access to taxpayer-funded research,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a founding member of the ATA). “This policy sets the stage for researchers, patients, and the general public to benefit in new and important ways from our collective investment in the critical biomedical research conducted by the NIH.”

Under a mandatory policy, NIH-funded researchers will be required to deposit copies of eligible manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online database, PubMed Central. Articles will be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The current NIH Public Access Policy, first implemented in 2005, is a voluntary measure and has resulted in a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual investigators. The advance to a mandatory policy is the result of more than two years of monitoring and evaluation by the NIH, Congress, and the community.

“We thank our Senators for taking action on this important issue,” said Pat Furlong, Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. “This level of access to NIH-funded research will impact the disease process in novel ways, improving the ability of scientists to advance therapies and enabling patients and their advocates to participate more effectively. The advance is timely, much-needed, and – we anticipate – an indication of increasingly enhanced access in future.”

“American businesses will benefit tremendously from improved access to NIH research,” said William Kovacs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. “The Chamber encourages the free and timely dissemination of scientific knowledge produced by the NIH as it will improve both the public and industry’s ability to become better informed on developments that impact them – and on opportunities for innovation.” The Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region.

“We welcome the NIH policy being made mandatory and thank Congress for backing this important step,” said Gary Ward, Treasurer of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). “Free and timely public access to scientific literature is necessary to ensure that new discoveries are made as quickly as feasible. It’s the right thing to do, given that taxpayers fund this research.” The ASCB represents 11,000 members and publishes the highly ranked peer-reviewed journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell.

Joseph added, “On behalf of the taxpayers, patients, researchers, students, libraries, universities, and businesses that pressed this bill forward with their support over the past two years, the ATA thanks Congress for throwing its weight behind the success of taxpayer access to taxpayer-funded research.”

Negotiators from the House and Senate are expected to meet to reconcile their respective bills this fall. The final, consolidated bill will have to pass the House and the Senate before being delivered to the President at the end of the year.

http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/media/release07-1024.html

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The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing organizations that supports open public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.

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Campaign against Open Access and Public Access to Federally Funded Research

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) this week issued a statement criticizing a new initiative in what it called an “ongoing PR campaign” against public access legislation, supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). ARL officials said the latest effort, dubbed PRISM (Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine), “frequently distorts the nature of ongoing and substantive discussions about open access and public access to federally funded research.”

The PRISM web site argues that public access efforts will undermine peer review and harm journal publishers; will open the door to “scientific censorship in the form of selective additions to or omissions from the scientific record”; subject the scientific record to “the uncertainty that comes with changing federal budget priorities and bureaucratic meddling”; and will introduce “duplication and inefficiencies that will divert resources that would otherwise be dedicated to research.”

ARL officials noted that the PRISM arguments closely follow the advice of PR “pit bull” Eric Dezenhall, whom publishers consulted in the last year to develop a strategy for fighting public access legislation. Nature first reported publishers’ plans to launch their PR campaign in January of 2007. ARL officials said the PR campaign offers libraries and researchers an opportunity to engage the campus community “concerning the changes to the scholarly communication” and provides a memo with talking points it hopes will help guide that discussion.

OA public access supporters have already hit the blogs, both dissecting PRISM’s arguments and expressing their displeasure over the coalition’s tactics. Alma Swan, a researcher and consultant specializing in scholarly communication wrote that the PRISM initiative made her feel sad and disappointed. Swan wrote on her blog that “the level of dishonesty and distortion in PRISM’s language,” suggested that “the partners in this ‘coalition’ are just not doing what I had hoped they would eventually do, which is to see clearly and act well.

Library Journal Academic Newswire, Sep 7, 2007

Issue Brief from the Association of Research Libraries

AAP PR Campaign against Open Access and Public Access to Federally
Funded Research: Update re the PRISM Coalition
September 4, 2007

Excerpt:
A new initiative has been announced in an ongoing public relations campaign sponsored by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) against initiatives concerning access to federally funded research (public access) and open access generally. PRISM (Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine), a new coalition, is attracting substantial criticism from a broad spectrum of researchers. The PRISM message corresponds directly to plans described in internal publisher documents leaked to reporters to “develop simple messages (e.g., public access equals government censorship)” that are aimed at key decision makers.

As news of this initiative evolves, it presents an opportunity to engage in conversations with members of your campus community concerning the changes to the scholarly communication system and how this may affect scholarly journal publishing. This memo provides talking points to assist you and your staff in working with members of your campus community with regards to the recently disclosed publishers public relations campaign against open/public access initiatives and legislation concerning access to federally funded research….

[N]either public access policies to federally funded research or open access journals alter the traditional practice of peer review.

* Peer review is already built into open access journals and to policies concerning access to federally funded research thus showing the fallacy of the predicted demise of peer review.
* The peer review system, based almost completely on the voluntary free labor of the research community, is independent of a particular mode of publishing, or business model.
* Publishers’ own studies have found that open access journals are peer reviewed as frequently as comparable subscription journals.
* The existing National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy and legislation concerning access to federally funded research called for submissions from only peer-reviewed journals and “includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.”
* Finally, journal publishers do not create the content they publish, nor do they generally pay authors for that content or compensate reviewers for the time they spend ensuring the quality of published research through their contributions to the peer review process. The academy supports and provides the peer review.
* Public access to federally funded research policies proposed to date have all incorporated embargo periods to protect publishers from any rapid shifts in subscription revenues….

PRISM doesn’t speak for Rockefeller University Press

Mike Rossner, Executive Director of Rockefeller University Press, sent the following letter to the Association of American Publishers (AAP):

To the Association of American Publishers:

I am writing to request that a disclaimer be placed on the PRISM website indicating that the views presented on the site do not necessarily reflect those of all members of the AAP. We at the Rockefeller University Press strongly disagree with the spin that has been placed on the issue of open access by PRISM.

First, the website implies that the NIH (and other funding agencies who mandate release of content after a short delay) are advocating the demise of peer review. Nothing could be further from the truth. These agencies completely understand the need to balance public access to journal content with the necessity for publishers to recoup the costs of peer review. After extended discussions with publishers, these agencies have determined that delayed release of content (none of them are advocating immediate release unless publishers are compensated handsomely for such release) is consistent with the STM subscription business model, in which peer review is a basic tenet.

Second, how can PRISM refer to bias when the government is mandating that ALL papers resulting from research they fund be released to the public after a short delay? The major potential for bias by the government and other funding agencies has already occurred when they decide what research to fund (e.g., stem cell research).

Third, PRISM takes issue with government spending on a repository of papers resulting from government-funded research. The government has been forced into this position by those publishers who refuse to ever release most of their content to the public.

Fourth, PRISM maintains that published papers are private property. Most of the research published by STM publishers only exists because of public funding. No public funding – no research,­ no millions in profit. Publishers thus have an obligation to give some of their private property back to the public, on whose taxes they depend for their very existence.

Finally, we take issue with the title: Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine. The use of the term “research integrity” is inappropriate in this context. The common use of this term refers to whether the data presented are accurate representations of what was actually observed. In other words, has any misconduct occurred? This is not the primary concern of peer reviewers, who ask whether the data presented support the conclusions drawn. It is thus incorrect to link the term research integrity directly with peer review.

I could go on, but I think you will get the point that we strongly disagree with the tack AAP has taken on this issue. We urge you to put a disclaimer on the PRISM site, to make it clear that your assertions do not represent the views of all of your members.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Rossner, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Rockefeller University Press