Friday, July 28, 2006

More News on Open Access

The Federal Public Research Access Act, which is currently under consideration by Congress, would "require federal agencies to publish their findings, online and free, within six months of their publication elsewhere," according to a story in today's edition of Inside Higher Education. The story further reports that the provosts of a number of major universities have jointly released "an open letter that strongly backs the bill and encourages higher education to prepare for a new way of disseminating research findings." Not unexpectedly, the Association of American Publishers is opposed to the bill, citing potential problems such as the cost of electronic publishing possibly diverting money from actual research, the possibility that the government might not create good databases, and the fear that after driving some commercial journals out of business, the government might lose interest in the databases and stop maintaining them. The provosts acknowledge that a new system of scholarly publishing might present a challenge for traditional journals, but state in their letter that the move toward open access is a "challenge to us all to think about how best to align the intellectual and economic models for scholarly publishing with the needs of contemporary scholarship and the benefits, including low marginal costs of distribution, of network technology."

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