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RE: Call for quick action: Elsevier trying to restrict open access to US-government-funded research!

  OK, we might as well do this again.

  I understand that the US congress is trying to pass such a law, and that 
Elsevier supports it. It certainly smacks of Elsevier trying to stifle 
competition by getting laws passed that equalize those journals with itself, 
but as far as corporations go, I do not think this matters too much. The bill 
being offered here has yet to receive any discussion in Congress, so it merits 
little regard since the last time such a thing came up. This may be nothing but 
sturm und drang, as it were. But let me be clear about something:

  I think it takes some mighty big cahones to tell a corporation that they 
cannot charge access for the work they publish on their own dime. This is 
especially important when you consider these journals do not charge submission 
or review fees, making the process of _getting published_ easier.

  I do not like Eslevier's actions myself, but this is largely irrelevant, and 
I am saying this only because it is likely I will get some "flaming" as a 
result of taking a stance on the corporation's side of this argument. Barely. I 
agree with the ludicrousness of the argument that Elsevier is reaching across 
the pond to influence the American Congress, but this is arises from my 
distaste in corporate meddling in legislation (which is an individual process; 
I detest lobbying).

  But note that this legislation means that if a US scientist, or any 
scientist, who received taxpayer-funded grant money from within the US and 
tries to publish in an Elsevier journal, that scientist must (although not 
compelled by _law_) make this work publically available, free of charge. This 
can negate the whole function of Elsevier charging print or reproduction costs 
to authors or subscribers, because those people merely wait until PubMed has 
the work and ... there it goes. So this is a cost that is borne on Elsevier, 
and thus affects their interests negatively -- regardless of how you dislike 
Elsevier, and this means "justice" doesn't matter here.

  Consider an analogy: There is a policy that says that if a police officer 
were to eat at an establishment, he must get his food free of charge. 
Regardless of how frugally the officer ate, this is a pure loss for the 
establishment. Does such an establishment have a "right" to create a law to 
protect its interests?


  Jaime A. Headden
  The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 13:02:42 +0100
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Call for quick action: Elsevier trying to restrict open access 
> to US-government-funded research!
> Jaime, this is not about Elsevier making internal rules for itself. It's
> about Elsevier trying to get a law passed that would make it illegal
> _for the US government_ to insist that publicly funded research must be
> freely accessible, no matter what publishers would be involved.