Jan 7, 2012

Free scientific knowledge!

One of the most obnoxious things I run into as a fact checker is paywalled papers. Journals and places like JSTOR usually want you to pay an outrageous sum for a single paper—usually $25 or more. If you google around, you can often find the paper for free someplace, or someone with a lot of twitter followers will have mercy on you and get their followers to send it to you. It's still a pain though, and increasingly anachronistic.

On another plane of outrage is this recent effort from Elsevier (another publishing cartel). The National Institutes of Health came up with a "Public Access Policy," mandating that all taxpayer-funded research should be public domain. Elsevier doesn't like this:
But the policy has been quite unpopular with a powerful publishing cartels that are hellbent on denying US taxpayers access to and benefits from research they paid to produce. This industry already makes generous profits charging universities and hospitals for access to the biomedical research journals they publish. But unsatisfied with feeding at the public trough only once (the vast majority of the estimated $10 billion dollar revenue of biomedical publishers already comes from public funds), they are seeking to squeeze cancer patients and high school students for an additional $25 every time they want to read about the latest work of America’s scientists.
So they've bought themselves a congress critter to outlaw the Public Access Policy and make the public pay to see research we already paid to produce. Complain here:
Twitter: @RepMaloney @CarolynBMaloney

Phone: 202-225-7944

FAX: 202-225-4709

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