Academic publishers urge Trump not to demand open access for federally funded research | The BMJ

More than 125 journal publishers and scientific and medical societies have signed a letter to Donald Trump asking him to reverse a policy they believe is being prepared that would require any journal publishing research that received US federal funding to make the article freely available without a subscription, immediately on publication.1

Currently, under the terms of a 2013 agreement, journal publishers may charge readers for federally funded research articles for 12 months from publication, after which the paywall must come down.

The revenue from those 12 months is essential to pay the costs of publication, the letter’s signatories argue. But, they write, “we have learned that the Administration may be preparing to step into the private marketplace and force the immediate free distribution of journal articles.” …

The letter also appeals to the president’s economic nationalist instincts. Requiring immediate open access, it argues, would “effectively nationalise the valuable American intellectual property that we produce and force us to give it away to the rest of the world for free.” …

The BMJ is not a signatory to either of the publishers’ letters. All original research published in The BMJ and in its sister journal BMJ Open is immediately available through open access with payment of an article processing charge. Other BMJ journals also offer open access publication.

The BMJ’s editor in chief, Fiona Godlee, said, “We support the shift to open access publishing for biomedical research, recognising that there will be winners and losers and that the priority must be to safeguard the quality and integrity of academic communication.” …”

Scientist says researchers in immigrant-friendly nations can’t use his software | Science | AAAS

A German scientist is revoking the license to his bioinformatics software for researchers working in eight European countries because he believes those countries allow too many immigrants to cross their borders. From 1 October, scientists in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark—”the countries that together host most of the non-European immigrants“—won’t be allowed to use a program called Treefinder, informatician Gangolf Jobb wrote in a statement he posted on his website….”

Publisher opposition to FRPAA 81 publishers have sent an open letter to Cong…

“81 publishers have sent an open letter to Congress opposing the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA)….

The publisher letter also repeats the old nationalist argument: “[FRPAA] would also compel American taxpayers to subsidize the acquisition of important research information by foreign governments and corporations that compete in global markets with the public and private scientific enterprises conducted in the United States.”

Carolyn Maloney used a similar nationalist argument in defense of RWA <http://goo.gl/sh7fX>: “Two-thirds of the access to PubMed central is from non-US users. In effect, current law is giving our overseas scientific competitors in China and elsewhere important information for free. We are already losing scientists due to a reduction in funding for federal research. This policy now sends our value-added research papers overseas at no cost.” 

The AAP first used this argument in 2006 in attacking the first iteration of FRPAA <http://goo.gl/8fHcs>: “Remember — you’re talking about free online access to the world…You are talking about making our competitive research available to foreign governments and corporations.” …”

Peter Suber, Are price barriers in the national interest?

“Allan Adler is the vice president for legal and government affairs of the Association of American Publishers.  Scott Jaschik quotes him making the following remarkable statement about FRPAA:

[Adler] rejected the idea that taxpayer financed research should be open to the public, saying that it was in the national interest for it to be restricted to those who could pay subscription fees. “Remember — you’re talking about free online access to the world,” he said. “You are talking about making our competitive research available to foreign governments and corporations.”

Peter Suber, More on applying trade embargoes to scientific editing

“This is one issue on which I see eye to eye with the publishers.  It was a scandal that the Treasury Department ever applied trade embargoes to scientific editing, as if ironing out an awkward sentence or fixing a diction error were analogous to exporting munitions.  The settlement is a major step forward, but the continuing requirement for a government license to edit manuscripts submitted by scientists from “enemy” nations is a serious impediment to the freedom of the press and the dissemination of research.”

Peter Suber, More on applying trade embargoes to scientific editing

“This is one issue on which I see eye to eye with the publishers.  It was a scandal that the Treasury Department ever applied trade embargoes to scientific editing, as if ironing out an awkward sentence or fixing a diction error were analogous to exporting munitions.  The settlement is a major step forward, but the continuing requirement for a government license to edit manuscripts submitted by scientists from “enemy” nations is a serious impediment to the freedom of the press and the dissemination of research.”

Should trade embargoes apply to scholarship?

“The US-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has 350,000 members worldwide, including 2,000 members in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and the Sudan.  Because the US has a trade embargo against these nations, the IEEE has felt obliged to deny these members all the goods and services prohibited by US trade laws.  This has meant blocking these members from reading the IEEE online journals and barring editors of IEEE journals from editing their papers.  As the IEEE reads US trade law, it could accept papers from these members but could not edit them, since editing was a “service” that falls under the trade embargo.  Six other international scientific and engineering societies contacted by the _Chronicle of Higher Education_ did not read the law the same way, and edited accepted papers by any author.”

Should trade embargoes apply to scholarship?

“The US-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has 350,000 members worldwide, including 2,000 members in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and the Sudan.  Because the US has a trade embargo against these nations, the IEEE has felt obliged to deny these members all the goods and services prohibited by US trade laws.  This has meant blocking these members from reading the IEEE online journals and barring editors of IEEE journals from editing their papers.  As the IEEE reads US trade law, it could accept papers from these members but could not edit them, since editing was a “service” that falls under the trade embargo.  Six other international scientific and engineering societies contacted by the _Chronicle of Higher Education_ did not read the law the same way, and edited accepted papers by any author.”