Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More on Open Access: Alliance for Taxpayer Access

The earlier posts here on various bills and moves for open access science 9/6/06,
7/28/06, and 5/8/06, made me excited to read in American Libraries issue of Sept. 2006, pp. 30 - 32 about taxpayer groups pushing for open access to federally funded research of all types. The link in the title above takes you to Alliance for Taxpayer Access' website. This is a terrific resource, and appears to be a good organization. The website includes updates and full text PDF versions of the various bills, letters, debates and statements on the topic. There are links to all kinds of developments. The organization is rightly peeved about research paid for with taxpayers' dollars being published ONLY in high-priced journals and databases which limits access to those involved with large universities and research institutions. Library organizations are involved in advocating for open access. The American Library Association coordinates the efforts at their Online Advocacy office and website.

The article also mentions the wonderful PubMed free archive of life sciences journals from the National Library of Medicine, NIH. The PubMed folks even include a tutorial here. The law library community is doing some work itself on archiving scholarship in public access databases. There are LEDA, the Legal Electronic Document Archive consortium effort, and LSR, the Legal Scholarship Repository from the NELLCO consortium. But these only cover law review articles, white papers, and other such scholarly publications. The best free resources for primary law (statutes, case law, constitutions) online are LII, the Legal Information Institute at Cornell, Library of Congress' list of Government Web Resources link, FirstGov portal to the federal government, which includes this handy link for state and territorial government web pages
Cheers for all the folks working to make our government information more easily available, from GovDocs librarians, to Government Printing Office webpages, to the people at advocacy groups and legislative advocacy offices!

Ironically enough, the beautiful flag image illustrating this posting is from FedWorld, the portal site of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) branch of the Commerce Department. Under President Reagan, NTIS began a wide-spread process of "privatizing" federal government information.

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