Trump Administration May Dismantle Scientific Paywalls

“The federal government spends billions of dollars of your money every year funding scientific research. And yet, in many cases, when the results of that research are published, it can take a full year before the public can read those results for free. The Trump administration wants to change that, making all taxpayer-funded research available immediately, but publishing companies aren’t happy about it.”

What to Expect in the Publishing World in 2020 | The Scientist Magazine®

“Earlier this month, a rumor began to circulate that the US government was planning on passing an executive order that would mandate all papers from federally funded research be open access immediately upon publication—abolishing the 12-month paywall allowed under current rules.

In response, more than 135 scientific societies and academic publishers penned an open letter to President Donald Trump’s Administration strongly opposing such a policy, warning that the proposed changes would “jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals and research articles and would potentially delay the publication of new research results.” The letter has been widely criticized by academics and open-access advocates on social media….”

Open Access Order Coming from White House? | CCC’s Beyond the Book

“In late December, rumors surfaced that the Trump Administration may be preparing an executive order to require all publications from federally funded research to be available immediately under “open access” publishing models.

On Capitol Hill, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, expressed concern over such a potential executive order in a December 12 letter to the White House. A December 18 statement from the Association of American Publishers also noted that, “more than 135 organizations – representing publishers in scientific and medical societies, global companies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – have expressed their strong opposition to [the] proposed Administration policy.”

“News of the Trump administration’s potential executive order comes as momentum is building around the globe in support of open access,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally….”

Get Syeducated: No More “Free Work” for Scientific Societies That Do Not Share My Values

“This is all a long preface to say that I will no longer do any free work for the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), a society for which I have been an extremely active member since joining in 2003. I have been to every meeting since 2004, have served on committees, chaired review panels, given countless presentations, and met many great friends and colleagues through the society. I owe much of my professional existence to SRA, which is why I felt such betrayal at their recent actions.


SRA, along with a number of societies and publishers (including APA and SRCD) signed on to this letter to the U.S. President urging him to delay executive action on open access of journal articles. Now, whether or not the President should take this action is not the core issue—I understand that this is a complex issue. But, signing on to this particular letter is inexcusable for a society like SRA. The letter is essentially publisher propaganda, containing mischaracterizations about the nature of intellectual property and the role of journals in the scientific process. Moreover, it is deeply nationalistic, prioritizing the benefits to the U.S. at the expenses of the rest of the world. This latter point should have been a deal breaker for any society that positions itself as valuing global science. The letter is a direct attack on two of my core values: diversity and open science….”

Potential White House open-access edict could upend scientific publishers

“The White House is considering issuing an executive order that would mandate immediate free access to all published federally funded research, with no embargo period, according to administration and scientific publishing officials.

At least two rounds of interagency reviews of the proposed executive order have occurred, according to an administration source, but there has been no word on when or whether the order will be issued. The review process is being coordinated by the White House staff secretary, says the source, rather than the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which has previously led the formulation of open-access policy….”

Publishing Companies Are Mad That The U.S. President Might Want To Make Federally-Funded Research Open Access | Gizmodo Australia

“Scientific societies and publishers are angry about a rumour that a White House executive order might make all federally-funded research open access.

If the rumours turn out to be true, the Trump administration would expand a program introduced by the Obama administration in 2013 that made federally-funded research available in the U.S. a year after publication. The rumoured Trump order would make federally-funded research immediately available as open access. It would be a win for the open access movement—and a loss for those who make money by putting walls up in front of federally-funded research….”

Trump could mandate free access to federally funded research papers | Ars Technica

“The Trump White House is rumored to be working on a beefed-up open access mandate. The potential executive order would require all scientific papers that are based on federally funded research to be made available online free of charge as soon as they are published. That would supersede a 2013 rule issued by the Obama White House that required federally funded papers to become freely available one year after publication.

The White House hasn’t actually announced the new policy yet, but the rumors were enough to get the attention of scientific publishers. Last week more than 100 publishing organizations signed a letter calling on the Trump administration to scrap the proposal….”

[Open letter from the Endocrine Society to Donald Trump]

“On behalf of the Endocrine Society, a medical and scientific specialty society comprising nearly 18,000 scientists and clinicians around the world, I am writing to you to express our serious concern regarding a potential administration policy that has recently come to our attention. We have learned that the administration is proposing to fundamentally alter the publishing marketplace by developing a policy that would mandate immediate and free distribution of journal articles financed by the federal government and published by organizations, including non-profit scientific societies such as the Endocrine Society. This proposal significantly threatens the scientific rigor and high quality of research that has distinguished our journals and advanced the field of endocrinology….”

Science groups, senator warn Trump administration not to change publishing rules | Science | AAAS

“More than 125 scientific societies and journal publishers, as well as an influential U.S. senator, are urgently warning the Trump administration not to move forward with a rumored executive order that would make all papers produced by federally funded research immediately free to the public. In three separate letters, they argue such a move would be costly, could bankrupt many scientific societies that rely on income from journal subscriptions, and would harm the scientific enterprise.

The White House won’t comment on whether the administration is considering issuing an executive order that would change publishing rules, and society officials say they have learned no details—nor been asked for input. But if the murmuring is accurate, the order would represent a major change from current U.S. policy, which allows publishers to keep papers that report the results of federally funded studies behind a paywall for up to 1 year. That 2013 policy was the compromise result of a fierce battle between open-access advocates, who wanted free immediate public access to the fruits of federally funded research, and scientific societies and publishers, who argued such a policy would destroy a long-standing, subscription-based business model that has well served society and scientists….”

AAP + scientific society letters, annotated · The Knowledge Futures Commonplace

“This past week, a range of scientific societies and a few mega-publishers sent public letters to the U.S. administration, opposing a potential executive order that would mandate immediate free access to federally-funded research.

One letter, organized by the Association of American Publishers, was signed by major publishers like Elsevier, Wiley, and Woulters-Kluwer, lobbying groups, and scholarly societies. This was distributed via a press release with the title, “COALITION OF 135+ SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND PUBLISHING ORGANIZATIONS SENDS LETTER TO ADMINISTRATION OPPOSING  PROPOSED ADMINISTRATION POLICY FORCING IMMEDIATE FREE DISTRIBUTION OF PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES”

Another letter was signed by 62 scientific societies, focusing on claims about the impact of the prospective order on scientific initiatives. Each of these letters made bold claims that deserve supporting evidence; and are reproduced below for discussion and annotation….”