“Signatories [to the AAP letter to Donald Trump] wrote about their role “fostering the American leadership in science that drives our economy and global competitiveness”. They suggested that an open access mandate “would significantly harm the system of peer-reviewed scholarly communication that fuels America’s leadership in research and innovation”. They urged the president to oppose this proposal. Many who signed the letter were indeed US-based organisations (such as the American Medical Association and American College of Physicians). But others would probably consider their missions to go beyond “fostering…American leadership in science”. They would almost certainly claim they had a global remit, not one narrowly confined to advancing “American competitiveness”. The letter was signed, for example, by the New England Journal of Medicine, Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, and The Lancet’s publisher, Elsevier. At last week’s Academic Publishing in Europe annual meeting, held in Berlin, Professor Günter Ziegler (President of the Free University of Berlin) mocked the catastrophist language used by publishers in this letter. “There is no such thing as American science or American publishing”, he said. Science is a truly global enterprise. His reprimand showed how far apart the values of science and science publishing have drifted in recent years….
Publishers are understandably nervous. Coalition S, a consortium of research funders that includes the Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and WHO, has called for the research they pay for to “be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo”. Their policy will be implemented in 2021. Publishers have held decisive power in shaping the dissemination of science for over 300 years. That power is now being challenged. It is an uncomfortable reset. But from the funder’s perspective it is entirely reasonable they have a voice in the way the science they support is reported. The result of this accelerating shift in power has been an escalating conflict between traditional scientific publishers and funding bodies. Yet, despite the anomaly of that ill-judged letter to President Trump, there were signs in Berlin that both sides were seeking an accommodation….
Scientific publishers as we know them today remain a threatened species. They will have to do more to prove their added value to science and society. Unless they do so, they may not deserve to survive.”
“On Friday, December 13, 2019, Research!America confirmed to the broader scientific community that the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) would soon issue an Executive Order (EO) requiring open access immediately for all scientific publications resulting from research supported by US federal grants. Such an immediate change would inject chaos into the current means of disseminating research findings and potentially cause serious financial challenges for many scientific societies.
Over the ensuing weekend, two public letters were drafted to the US presidential administration and other American politicians. One letter was led by the American Chemical Society (which focused on the impact of the EO on scientific societies) and the other letter was led by the Association of American Publishers (that focused on the economic impact of the EO). The goal was to insist that the US administration reconsider any impulsive action so journals and societies could evaluate and adapt to the proposed change in an orderly way. There was no opportunity for APS to offer edits….”
“Today, January 24, 2020, the APS Board sent a letter to the Trump Administration, expressing regret for having signed a letter, led by the Association of American Publishers, in protest of an impending executive order from the Trump Administration to mandate immediate open access for all publications reporting on US federally-funded research. This letter is to you, our members, and to the wider scientific community. It builds on our statement of December 23, 2019 and represents our current thoughts on the situation….”
“Researchers have been grumbling about the state of scientific publishing for years. Now, rumor has it that the Trump administration (yes, those science-haters!) may be trying to fix at least one problem: access to reports of government-funded research.
The rumored proposal will require free, immediate access to all reports of government-funded scientific research. The rumor is credible enough that an association of 210 academic and research libraries has written to the president in support of the idea. The research-publication system is a mess, and open access would be one small step toward a fix….”
“Ensuring immediate access to the latest, cutting-edge research provides critical knowledge that we as students should be able to learn while and school and continue to access throughout our careers. Our education should be based on the latest, groundbreaking information and we should get access right away, not just when our campus can afford a journal subscription or after an embargo period expires. Making federally-funded research openly available to everyone—along with the data needed to validate the conclusions and any corresponding computer code—will significantly expand our access to the resources necessary for a complete, up-to-date education….”
Note: PLOS and other prominent organizations delivered the following letter to the Trump Administration on January 17, 2020. We encourage all publishing organizations and scholarly societies who would like to join us in support of OA in the USA to reach out to us at email@example.com — we can prepare an expanded letter with more signatories as necessary. Please also consider voicing your support on social media with the hashtag #OAintheUSA.
“In a recent letter to the White House, a group of corporate publishers and scholarly organizations implore the president to leave intact the current arrangements between publicly funded researchers and the publishing industry. Their letter is the latest move in a decades-long struggle between researchers and publishers over who controls the fruits of the researchers’ labor….
At least one learned society is already reconsidering the issue. The Association for Computing Machinery released a statement on January 9, saying that it regretted signing onto the publishers’ letter and reiterating its commitment to open access. We hope that readers of this essay will contact the leaders of their own learned societies to express their support for open science and their opposition to continuing the current publishing model. In order to solve the challenges the world now faces, the public needs reliable, affordable science. Producing it will require scientific institutions — including systems of scientific publishing — that serve science instead of holding it for ransom.”
“On behalf of the undersigned national and regional library, research, publishing, and advocacy organizations, we are writing to express our commitment to ensuring that American taxpayers are guaranteed immediate, free, and unfettered access to the results of scientific research that their tax dollars support, and to encourage the Administration to support continued progress towards this shared goal. We strongly endorse updating existing U.S. policy to eliminate the current 12-month embargo period on articles reporting on publicly funded research, and to ensure that they are made immediately available under terms and conditions that allow their full reuse. To unlock the full value of our collective investment in science, the underlying data needed to validate an article’s conclusions, along with any corresponding software or code, should also be made immediately available….”
“As a coalition representing more than 210 academic and research libraries on college and university campuses and related organizations across the country (see below for full list), we write to express our strong support for a federal policy that would make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. We wholeheartedly endorse updating current policy and eliminating the unnecessary 12-month waiting period for the public to gain access to the outputs of scientific research, including data, articles, and the supporting computer code.
Each year, the federal government uses taxpayer dollars to fund more than $60 billion dollars in scientific research. The government funds this research with the understanding that it will advance science, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and improve the lives of its citizens. Yet, under current policy, most taxpayers – including academics, students, and patients – are not able to access the results of the research that their tax dollars fund for at least a year.
The research is only available through prohibitively expensive subscriptions to scientific journals, or through individual pay-per-view schemes where articles cost upwards of $30 to view. No college or university – even well-funded private institutions like Harvard University – can afford to subscribe to all of the scientific journals that their faculty, researchers, and students require. As a result, major university library systems (most notably the University of California System) have publicly stated that the current system is broken, and that they will no longer pay to subscribe to expensive journal packages.
Immediate, barrier-free access policies can play a crucial role in ensuring that our nation’s scientific research infrastructure is designed to optimize the accessibility and utility of these articles from the outset, amplifying all of the desired outcomes from publicly funded research. The research community has long recognized the opportunity that immediate, barrier-free, online access presents to researchers to work faster, by enabling them to get to research articles and incorporate new findings into their research more rapidly….”
“Over the past few weeks, ACM leadership has listened to the concerns of our members regarding a letter we signed on to that addressed a forthcoming US Presidential Executive Order regarding the embargo of US federally-funded research. Our members have raised many important issues about the content of that letter. In response, ACM is sending a follow up letter to Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to clarify ACM’s position on Open Access and its support for a sustainable approach to Open Access. It will make the points we outline below.
The letter was interpreted by some ACM members as indicating that ACM is against Open Access. This could not be further from our intention. ACM chose to take the first steps in support of Open Science ideals almost a decade ago—long before the existence of Plan S in Europe or the 2013 US OSTP Open Access Mandate. For years, ACM authors have had the right to post accepted versions of their works to non-commercial repositories (including arXiv and institutional repositories). ACM-sponsored conferences can choose to make their proceedings publicly available from their own websites, either for a limited time or permanently. ACM Special Interest Groups can choose to make the publications from all their conferences publicly available.
ACM is committed to a sustainable future where all peer-reviewed scholarly articles will be Open Access. The transition to this model will take time and needs to be done in a way that ensures sustainability. Full Open Access will benefit the field of computer science significantly by increasing the sharing and citation of research accomplishments. Some of you commented on the US-centric focus of the White House directive and ACM’s response. The Executive Order would only impact research supported by US federal funding. However, as a global organization ACM is also engaged with related efforts in Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere.
We regret that co-signing the letter regarding the Executive Order created confusion and concern. Our publications policies and our focus on developing sustainable publication models for Open Access are both long-standing and forward-looking. Financially “sustainable” publications models are key to ACM’s future and its ability to reinvest in activities that promote the scientific foundations of computing. It is worth saying that ACM, too, had concerns about some language and the general tone of the letter, but ultimately decided that those concerns were outweighed by the risks associated with the White House issuing an Executive Order without proper consultation with stakeholders or consideration of the ramifications. In retrospect, we misgauged how our participation would be interpreted by the community. For this we are indeed sorry….”