News Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles—publishers do

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D H

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"Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles—publishers do". That is the (IMHO rather outrageous) statement by Allan Adler, Association of American Publishers VP for government and legal affairs to the House Judiciary Committee last week regarding the http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.801:" [Broken]. This nice (where is that tongue-in-cheek smiley?) piece of bipartisan legislation would remove restrictions on federally-funded research that requires researchers to make their publications publicly available (e.g. PubMed, arXiv) even after an embargo period.

Some reading:
http://paulcourant.net/2008/09/17/fair-copyright-in-research-works/
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6595774.html
http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/02/open_access_the_time_to_act_is.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=channellink [Broken]

Googling the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act results in a lot more hits, none of them favorable to the publishing industry that I can see.

I made my opinion known by calling Adler's statement outrageous. Others have called it galling. Any other opinions?
 
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mgb_phys

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Re: Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles—publishers do

I made my opinion known by calling Adler's statement outrageous. Others have called it galling. Any other opinions?
Simple solution, don't peer review for any journal that doesn't allow latter free publication.
Or send them a bill at consultancy rate!
 
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Skyhunter

Government research should remain in the public domain period.

The public paid for it, they have a right to the results.
 

Astronuc

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AFAIK, most peer-reviewed journals are sponsored by scientific and technical societies through subscriptions or purchases of articles. The publishing companies are sponsored by their customers, some of whom receive salaries from the national governments as employees or research grants, as well as private industry.

I suppose the government and universities could simply publish through the GPO or institutional presses or electronically on the institutional websites, or Arxiv.
 

mgb_phys

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Re: Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles—publishers do

I suppose the government and universities could simply publish through the GPO or institutional presses or electronically on the institutional websites, or Arxiv.
Journals used to be published by individual institutions and were distributed by swaps (I will send you mine each month if you send me yours) long before commercial publishers got in on the business. Then to save money most institutes handed over their journals to publishers like Springer Verlag.
The journals don't pay the authors, or the referees and charge a fortune - because institutions don't have a choice, then as institutes cut their subscriptions the price has to go up for the rest of them.

The trouble with just publishing online, either on arvix or your own web site is organising the peer review. There are a couple of processes for a peer-peer review system but all the proposed systems are a complex mess of public-private key signatures and web of trust mechanisms (you would think they had been designed by committees of academics).
But the alternative is just to trust the paper based on the institute, so any paper with a .mit.edu or cam.ac.uk is correct and anything with .gmail.com is rejected.
 

mgb_phys

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Re: Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles—publishers do

Government research should remain in the public domain period.
The public paid for it, they have a right to the results.
This isn't a question of the data being in the public domain, it's the published paper - which is owned by the journal who spent money on editing it, typesetting it, checking/refereeing it and finaly prinitng and distributing it.
As an example the presidents speech is in the public domain - but the broadcast is owned by the TV station.

In the US most non-classified government data is freely available, eg map data from USGS. In the UK it has to be paid for (and is very expensive) this means that the taxpayer saves money, the mapping agency actually makes a profit, and the data is higher qulity.

But it stifles business and innovation - somethign like Google Earth or streetmap wouldn't have been possible in the UK. Ironically the reason it is now is that the official data is so expensive that a number of companies have mapped it themselves.
 

Astronuc

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Journals used to be published by individual institutions and were distributed by swaps (I will send you mine each month if you send me yours) long before commercial publishers got in on the business. Then to save money most institutes handed over their journals to publishers like Springer Verlag.
Well the two biggies are Springer and Elsevier (Reed-Elsevier). There is also Kluwer, which may have an affiliation with Springer, and there's Pearson.

Fortunately there are still some university presses, e.g. Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, Harvard UP, Princeton UP, UChicago P, . . . . which are still independent.
 

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