Publicly-funded research for a price

Publicly-funded research doesn't seem so public when taxpayers must pay to read the results in a journal. A new law may help publishing companies preserve their business models, but will limit public access to the research.

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Let's see:

*If the government funded research was done in a government lab, the results would be in the public domain within the U.S. End of discussion. That's the law.

*The NIH mandate, which was approved by Congress after years of hearings, doesn't violate copyright in any way, shape or form. It does, however, say that government-funded research carried out in non-government labs should also be available to the citizens who already paid for it.

I continue to be appalled by the extent to which so-called professional societies link arms with the handful of big European STM publishers in this continuing attempt to squeeze academic libraries out of every last dime while denying public access to publicly-funded research. One wonders just whose side they're on.

Stephen Michael Kellat, Host, LISTen
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The other thing that is frustrating to many scientists (I currently work in a lab) is that you aren't paid to peer review (at least in the journals I know of) so when publishers talk about "the cost of peer review" what exactly are they talking about? Their cost of emailing the article to some other scientists? How can that cost anything? I'm really curious what they mean when the say that.

In addition, for some journals, the scientist is requried to pay per page of his article that is being published. And the pages are not cheap, they run about $200/page that the scientist (or his/her lab) has to pay the journal for their article to be published.

Mostly, publishers are raising FUD--Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.

In fact, there are costs related to peer review, mostly contact management (and in some cases postage). Those costs shouldn't amount to a whole lot, to be sure.

As for author-side payments in toll journals: That's one of the things the big STM publishers *really* don't want to talk about. Apparently, a larger percentage of subscription/toll journals charge author-side fees than within open-access journals.

And yet, and yet: Most faculty/scholars/scientists have demonstrated that they don't much care about open access. More's the pity.

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