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

On Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 8:38 PM, Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com> wrote:

> 2. This does not enforce the law against those who do not receive NIH monies. 
> If you do, and you are publishing, then the law compels you to act 
> accordingly, and use PubMed. If you intend to publish research in an open 
> access journal or a book, and receive NIH monies for the research you are 
> publishing on, then you have nothing to worry about, but must still make your 
> material available through PubMed. If you wish to publish in non-open access, 
> and receive NIH monies, but said publisher wishes to maintain rights to 
> access into the future, then you shouldn't have published there. It seems 
> contingent on this that one enables open availability through the publisher 
> in compliance with the law, but that some wish to do en end run around this 
> and force the publishers to comply instead.

What El is trying to do is make it so they can have access to the
massive public funding and then charge everyone for it. They're not
trying to deal with 'people doing an end run' around the law, they're
making sure that they get a piece of the public money.

> 3. Elsevier is not the only publishing house involved. It is currently one of 
> the companies that has lobbied for access to this congresswoman as a 
> mouthpiece; this is not new in US politics. [I say nothing about how I feel 
> about this.] Note that the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and John 
> Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Wiley) were supporters (and backers) of the earlier 
> legislation, and it is reported that AAP is still a supporter of the current 
> one; Elsevier is not listed as a supporter, merely the originator of monies 
> the sponsor of the bill has received.
> Aside from Elsevier publishing popular medical and earth science journals 
> such as _The Lancet_ and _Cretaceous Research_, Wiley published (among 
> others) the _Biological_ and _Botanical Journal[s] of the Linnaean Society_, 
> _Journal of Systematic Palaeontology_, _Cladistics_, _Journal of Evolutionary 
> Biology_ and _Evolution_, among others. Wiley is a member of AAP. You can't 
> publish in Wiley journals the same as in Elsevier; but what holds for Wiley 
> doesn't necessarily hold for Elsevier: Mike Taylor brought up
> To lay this solely on Elsevier's shoulders is only validating an erroneous 
> course of action: one villainizes a particular company, and scapegoats it to 
> say something nasty about a for-profit >business paleontologists have been 
> publishing through for the last several decades,

Indeed, in a way this is like historical, biological constraints. Its
not done for a good reason, and it's not the way you would design it,
it's just the way things ended up.
It's an historical accident that some Dutch Company ended up being so
gigantic in science publishing.

> 4. I am going to repeat my statement that Elsevier, as a for-profit business, 
> has costs

The company's interest is to sell at the highest price possible, and
the consumer's interest is to buy at the lowest price possible.

> No one who uses their services has a right to complain that the fee they are 
> asked to pay should be waived

Everyone that uses any service should always demand the lowest price.

>As a company in the business of making money, they operate in a market in 
>which they provide a service, and just like any market, if you do not like 
>their wares, go somewhere else.

Except that alongside the private sector, there's a public sector.
They want access to that public sector, they don't like that people
can't publish in their journals if the research is publically funded.
Tough on them; that's the way it should be, let them compete.

> Again, this is like biting that hand that feeds you, and demanding more food.
Charging publicly funded universities for access to reports done by
those publically funded universities is biting the hand that feeds
you. Adding more fees on top of that is silly.
They're publishers, heck they're not even editors or in a lot of cases
they're not even typesetters (many journals require submissions
already typeset via software like latex, which, btw, was created in
the public sector).

> 5. Elsevier (or Wiley) is not the only game in town. There's are perfectly 
> good publishers that would enjoy your works at varying levels of size, 
> including _Palaeontologica Electronica_ >and _PLoS ONE_. So the issue here I 
> do not think is that one is absolutely forced to use these publishers for the 
> purposes you want. These publishers will openly and costlessly comply >with 
> the authors who themselves wish to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy. 
> I get the feeling (and this is where my gripe comes in) that a group of 
> potential or actual publishees >wish to bully the publishers to acceding to 
> US law so that they can themselves freely share their work. The end goal is 
> nice, but the means are disgusting.

If Els and others want to publish papers that are based on publicly
funded research then they're going to have to make it publicly
available. They're the ones trying to do an end run around the law
here, it's not like someone tricked them into publishing a paper
without telling them it was publicly funded.

They simply want to compete in the public AND the private sector
without playing by the public rules; that's the problem.

> As I said before, there are two ridiculously simple resolutions to this: A) 
> Stop publishing in Elsevier or other publishers who choose not to make 
> NIH-paid work available; and/or B) Pay for >the additional cost of opening 
> the work to open access so that it can comply with the NIH Public Access 
> Policy.

What you're forgetting here is that any such payment would clearly
come from public support, one way or another it'd come off a grant,
that's not Els or the researcher's money, that's the public's money.
So again, no, Els doesn't get to charge public researchers a fee to
get access to reports on publicly funded research, AND then charge
another fee for pubmed listing.

 >Alternatively, one can take Eisen's suggestion: "scientists ask
societies to which they belong to drop their membership in AAP." >>>>
> I find this a great way to effectively enact change through democratic 
>action, "will of the >people" and all that.

Or, as an additional measure, if some universities prohibited their
employees from publishing in Elsevier journals, that might work too.

>The tactics should be dissidence and non-compliance, not strongarm and 
This is a bit silly, the problem here is that Els is trying to change
the law, if there's any bullying, that's it.snip