Scholarly Communications News

Since the Hope College Open Access Policy went into effect last October, there have been a number of developments in the push for open access, some good, some not so good. This is a recap of recent events related to open access and scholarly publishing.

  • The Library joined the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). This is a group of North American institutions that have passed open access policies. It is similar to Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), which is primarily a group of European institutions.
  • Research Works Act (HR 3699) Attacks Open Access. On December 16, 2011 the Research Works Act was introduced by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY).The bill contains provisions to prohibit open access mandates for federally funded researchand effectively to revert the NIH’s Public Access Policy that allows taxpayer-funded research to be freely accessible online.If enacted, it would also severely restrict the sharing of scientific data.The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,of which Issa is the chair.
  • The Bill is supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Copyright Alliance.While the Association of American Publishers endorsed the RWA and lobbies for it in the name of its members, a number of AAP members have issued formal statements opposing the bill including: MIT press, Council on Library and Information Resources, Penn State University Press, University of California Press, Nature Publishing Group, the Association for the Advancement of Science, the Modern Language Association, and the American Institute of Physics.
  • Elsevier Changes Policy. This year Elsevier made a major change to its publisher agreement, which now prohibits authors affiliated with institutions or agencies that have open access mandates to deposit copies of their articles into an open access repository unless their institution signs a very restrictive agreement with Elsevier. Wiley has adopted a similar policy.
  • Open Letter Condemning Elsevier. On February 6, 2012, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) sent an open letter to the Chairman of Elsevier condemning Elsevier for its recent business practices and lobbying that undermines open access. COAR represents 80 institutions from 24 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America.
  • Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). On February 9, 2012, Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Wyden (D-OR), and Hutchison (R-TX) and Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS), and Clay (D-MO) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act, a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies.
— Kelly Jacobsma

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