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White House Petition For Open Access To Research

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the show-your-work dept.

United States 60

dstates writes "You paid for it, you should be able to read the results of publicly funded research. The National Institutes of Health have had a very successful open access mandate requiring that the results of federally funded biomedical research be published in open access journals. Now there is a White House petition to broaden this mandate. This is a jobs issue. Startups and midsize business need access to federally funded technology research. It is a health care issue, patients and community health providers need access, not a few scientists in well funded research institutes, and even wealthy institutions like Harvard are finding the prices of proprietary journals unsustainable."

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60 comments

Careful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068161)

patients and community health providers need access, not a few scientists in well funded research institutes

If handled wrong, it'll just become a few CEOs who were first to rush to the patent office.

Re:Careful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069113)

By handled "wrong"... you mean "handled by completely making a hash of patent law to correspond to your notion of how it works, instead of how it's worked for decades"? Because novelty is a requirement for patentability, and if an invention is published (you know, the whole point of this petition), then it's prior art, and a patent application on the same invention fails the novelty test. I know you want to believe that "first-to-file" must mean some wild-west free-for-all, but wanting it doesn't make it true.

Oh wow! (3, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068181)

Oh wow! An online petition!
Now things will really start to change!
For the next step we need to stage a sit-in at a Starbucks.

Re:Oh wow! (1)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40072055)

Online movements can help speed up changes that are already gaining momentum.
You know, like the open-access movement.

Does anyone really believe these peitions work? (2)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068223)

"We the People"...ha!
This is nothing more than a tool to give us the illusion of influence.

Re:Does anyone really believe these peitions work? (0)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068495)

Do you really want anything on the internet to directly decide public US government policy/law? The answer, of course, is NO! We can't even trust the internet to cast votes properly. And you want these petitions to be met with more than a couple paragraphs of response? Please. This is not the proper forum for policy making.

Re:Does anyone really believe these peitions work? (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068893)

Pffft, their results show that they don't even give an illusion of working.

Wonderful! (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068255)

Now we can have a nice, bullshit, boilerplate response to a legitimate question!

Seriously, is anyone still falling for this obvious scam?

What is a scam? (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068339)

What is a scam here?

I didn't see any response yet.

The petition seems ok.

Re:What is a scam? (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068521)

The "scam" is that you can't make an online poll be law...yet.

(sarcasm)

Re:What is a scam? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068523)

The scam is you will get some bullshit answer and no matter what you will not change their opinion.

This entire thing is a huge waste of time.

Re:What is a scam? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068585)

The scam is you will get some bullshit answer and no matter what you will not change their opinion.

This entire thing is a huge waste of time.

This.

My bad for thinking it was obvious.

Re:What is a scam? (2, Insightful)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40071281)

The scam is you will get some bullshit answer and no matter what you will not change their opinion.

This common sentiment is frustrating to hear. It always comes from people who seem to expect fast, precise responses from lumbering institutions and bureaucracies that necessarily move at a far slower pace.

Nothing big gets changed quickly. You'll never sign the one petition that finally sends things over the top, and hell while we're at it, sure your single vote doesn't really matter all that much, in the grand scheme.

Big change takes time, years, sometimes decades or even generations. Several Congresses will hold hearings, and publish reports that you and most everyone else (including those who "report" on it) will never read, material posted in the Congressional Journals or the Federal Register.

Major change requires the continuous input from multiple voices. It requires above all else persistence. If you expect that you will be able to change a federal law as easily as you can post on /., then yes you will be disappointed. That is not the useful purpose of these petitions. The purpose is to continue to increase the visibility of this issue.

Pot's been illegal for a long time. However, in the past decades we have made huge, dramatic legal changes in terms of medical marijuana. Things are changing pretty dramatically -- legal in 17 states now, a number of cities have deprioritized its enforcement, and it's getting increasingly staid and conservative people to endorse it. Only because the issue has become this visible in fact, can now even a New York Supreme Court Judge (somewhat) comfortably admit publicly to his own medical marijuana use.http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/17/us-usa-judge-marijuana-idUSBRE84G1GX20120517 [reuters.com]

Even still, it is going to take a lot more petitioning brush-offs to get there -- including ongoing efforts to petition, where the short term result effort seems to fall flat. These things do add up over time, they have been. The result you want to aim for isn't an immediate response (as great as that would be), rather it is to keep the discussion as prominent as possible.

Re:What is a scam? (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40072063)

Absolutely right. What were once unchanging and inevitable positions have been eroded time and time again throughout history. The only way to lose for sure is to just give up.

Re:What is a scam? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40072293)

This entire thing is a huge waste of time.

yeah - can we get a Slashdot section for Whitehouse Petitions? They seem to come up quite a bit lately and I'd rather just killfile the stories, because they all turn out the same.

About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068259)

we did something about the scholarly publishing racket that funnels taxpayer money into CEO pockets.

I don't agree (3, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068295)

"This is a jobs issue. Startups and midsize business need access to federally funded technology research"

Yeah, sure, it's nice that businesses hire people that can read and I'm sure they do important work. Blah blah blah.

This is a public good. We're talking about basic research funded with public funds. Everyone who pays taxes should have access to works published from that funding (within reason). (Maybe if you don't pay US taxes you shouldn't have access, but that's a point for another time.)

To be specific, science should communicated to the public. I don't mean that the public should be viewed as having a "say" in what gets studied/published or not - that's for peer review and ethics boards. Feynman talks about how important this is. If your hypothesis can't ever be communicated to someone outside the discipline, then just maybe it's not a sound hypothesis. (I'm not sure he said that exactly, but that's as I see things.)

Fuck these petitions (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068341)

One of the highest ranked petitions on the site called on the President to advocate for the regulation of Cannabis [whitehouse.gov] in a manner similar to alcohol. The administrations response [norml.org] did not mention alcohol once. Further, it was written by the drug czar, who is legally required to oppose any measures that would legalize Cannabis.

Don't think for a moment that anyone is listening to your petition. This is a marketing tool for the president to co-opt your issue. If he can respond to a few unimportant petitions, he gets to claim that he listens to "the people", while ignoring anything that's really important.

For example, after the debacle I described above, someone created a petition for the president to take these petitions seriously. It got the requisite peitions and got a response [whitehouse.gov] . They gave some examples of how the petitions influenced policy. Among them were banning puppy mills, digitizing federal records, and a "conversation" on online piracy. Not exactly heavy hitting issues here.

"The People" have absolutely no say on anything that matters in this country. Fuck these petitions, and fuck this president.

Re:Fuck these petitions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068497)

You marijuana legalizers have no clue how to communicate your ideas to the general public. Your post is yet another example.

Re:Fuck these petitions (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068541)

Yes, it's very hard to communicate rationally with the extremely irrational.

Re:Fuck these petitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068561)

fuck this president.

Start a petition for that?

Re:Fuck these petitions (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069285)

Start a petition for that?

I honestly really like that idea.

Who wants to start a White House petition calling for Obama to resign? I'd love to see that, just for the comedy value.

A 2-yr Senator is all style and no substance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068647)

Who could have possibly thought that a 2-year Senator who never published anything while editor of Harvard Law Review, who never produced any course material while a "professor" of Constitutional law, who demagogued about closing Gitmo and repealing the Patriot Act as a candidate but who couldn't wait to prepeptuate them once in office, whose foreign policy is pretty indistinguishable from a hypothetical Bush III, would be all style and no substance.

Re:Fuck these petitions (2)

cwhooker (2644559) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068701)

The petition was prompted by discussions between SPARC/ARL and the administration's Science Advisor. The clear message was that Obamacorp is well aware of the access issue, and would be very receptive to a strong display of public support. You want realpolitik? With an election coming up, this is something Obama might just seize on for a populist play. What's not to like about getting fair value for gummint spending on science? No matter what you think of his reasons for doing it, this is a chance to get Obama to put some weight behind an important issue. (FWIW, I'm all for cannabis regulation.)

Re:Fuck these petitions (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069215)

Sorry, Obama had his chance. If he wanted to be a populist, he should have started in 2008. Voting for Obama because of this issue is no better than falling for the good cop in the old good/bad cop routine.

Re:Fuck these petitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068839)

This is exactly what I thought as well. Democracy my ass.

Who pays for it? (4, Insightful)

binarstu (720435) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068347)

I would be in full support of this mandate as long as it includes a provision that all federal research funding must also pay for publishing costs. I am a big fan of open-access journals, but the reality is that many of them are very expensive to publish in. For example, authors are charged almost $3,000 to publish a single article in PLoS Biology. For many researchers who are working off of limited grants, that price makes publishing in those journals impossible. In contrast, many "closed" journals have no costs to the authors because publishing costs are covered by subscription fees. I absolutely do want to see a larger migration to open-access publishing, but I also don't want "open access" mandates to forget about who actually pays for publication.

Re:Who pays for it? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068931)

The great majority - or actually *every* other open-access journal, including various other PLoS journals - have *much* lower publication fees. Even as low as an order of magnitude less than your quoted number. The various PLoS journals do remain the most expensive to publish in, but they often allow articles to be published for free, depending on institution and country of origin.

Put it in the grant / subscription fees (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069291)

I've been on grant review boards -- a large number of the grants submitted make an assumption that they'll publish a paper a year, and include the 'page fees' (or whatever is appropriate in their field) in their grant proposal to cover the publishing of the research information.

Now, conversely, I really liked Jason Priem and Bradley M. Hemminger's recent article, 'Decoupling the Scholarly Journal [frontiersin.org] ', which talks about the basic tasks that a journal does, and how they don't all need to be done by a single entity. (I admit, I've only scanned it, I need to go back and read it more thoroughly, so hopefully I haven't misrepresented it)

The problem with your assumption that journals are covered by subscription fees is that the rates for library subscriptions has been rising so significantly that many are rebelling, and just dropping the subscriptions entirely. Some have designated the savings to go into a pool to pay author fees, but I'm also personally against the current model of author-pays-on-acceptance. (as it means they're subsidizing all of the rejections; it's been pointed out that journals pride themselves on exclusivity ("we only accept 2%"), so are unlikely to establish fees on submission as it may pre-filter the rejections)

Re:Who pays for it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40070609)

You see, you get the money to do so. The issue is, do you actually reserve money from your budget to publish? or you rather take that money and get away with a better computer/equipment or more materials? (Or in some cases, does your advisor performs magic tricks to disappear that money anyways?)

Re:Who pays for it? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40071553)

PLoS, like all reputable open access publishers, waives publication fees for authors who cannot afford to pay. [plos.org] I've seen the specious "open access publishing locks out researchers who can't pay" repeated so often, in such obvious defiance of the facts, that I'm starting to wonder if it's astroturfing on the part of the PRISM [prismcoalition.org] crowd.

Re:Who pays for it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40096329)

How do you define "reputable"? Physical Review X does not waive fees for most authors. Neither do Springer Open journals or Hindawi.

Re:Who pays for it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40125837)

I should clarify that Springer Open, which was formed when Springer acquired BioMed Central, does have a waiver policy. The following statements appear on the "About" page of many (but not all) of their journals: "We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. ... A limited number of waivers for article-processing charges are also available at the editors' discretion, and authors wishing to apply for these waivers should contact the editors." It does not appear, however, that fees are automatically waived for unfunded authors.

Re:Who pays for it? (1)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40072089)

For example, authors are charged almost $3,000 to publish a single article in PLoS Biology.

I've never heard anyone make a convincing case for why it actually needs to cost that much. I suspect those numbers are just a symptom of fat, money-hungry publishers adopting fat, money-hungry procedures.

FOSS developers already have systems for massive, worldwide peer review of open-access technical publications (their source code). If established publishers can't figure out how to charge *substantially* less than $3000 for an article, then I suggest that they get out of the business entirely.

Re:Who pays for it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075245)

I call BS here. A journal costs almost nothing to publish these days. The only issue is if you print on paper. The cost is the gate keepers rent and that is is.

Re:Who pays for it? (1)

pantaril (1624521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084733)

I would be in full support of this mandate as long as it includes a provision that all federal research funding must also pay for publishing costs.

If they don't have money to publish the paper in open-access journal, they should at last be required to release the raw unedited version of the paper they submited to the journal. There is no reason to completely withdraw all results of publicly funded research from public.

Obamacare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068349)

Mr. President, pick one:

1. Continued cooperation [forbes.com] from wealthy drug companies on your healthcare agenda
2. Sudden shift in big pharma campaign contributions (> oil+gas+wallstreet) to Romney's 527s.

Re:Obamacare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069167)

So you're saying Obama is for sale to the highest bidder? Nothing new there...

so would that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068351)

so if they do it because 25k sign this does that mean we let the 0.0083% control the country?

While you're at it... (1)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068353)

Also repell patents on drugs that were funded in a material way by the public. Because nearly all drugs are funded by the public. Labs almost invariably hook into the process at the very last stage, when the gory details have been worked out already, and reap the benefits for the entire process.

Re:While you're at it... (2)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069495)

Also repell patents on drugs that were funded in a material way by the public. Because nearly all drugs are funded by the public. Labs almost invariably hook into the process at the very last stage, when the gory details have been worked out already, and reap the benefits for the entire process.

Although that might please the anti-patent croud, I think, you would find pretty much no-takers for funding for FDA trials. Why would any company pay for an FDA trial when the outcome is uncertain and if it turned out okay they would be in competion with every other company to manufacture the drug, but the other companies didn't have to pay so every company takes one step back...

The only solutions to this problem seem to be:

1. Maybe the government would pay for all drug trials as well (hmm, try making that process non-political, like publically funded elections)...
2. Maybe we'd not have FDA trials at all (the libertarian idea, let the market sort it out)...
3. Maybe we'd have the govt subsidize failed drug trials (and have the govt trial all sorts of crap the industry threw at it, a windfall to the drug trial industry)
4. Maybe that we'd give the company that funded the trial a short term monopoly to recoup the risk of the money tendered on the drug trial (gasp, is that a patent?)
5. Maybe we can force companies to fund a certain percentage of trials in order to maintain the ability to legally sell a certain volume of drugs in the US (the pooled risk pool idea, kinda pari-mutual betting or forced insurance)...

Although I personally like #5, I think that companies would tend to gravitate to the least risky drugs that are the cheapest to trial or conversely the most obscure conditions that would probably reduce the quality of break-through drugs available to the general public. Sadly, it seems to me that #4 is currently the best practical option and the other ones are mostly just fantasies (esp #2, I don't think anyone but a die-hard libertarian wants that)... You might argue that the patents are too long, but that is merely a technicality of the current patent regime, not a reason to throw out the idea of patents altogether...

Re:While you're at it... (1)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074247)

Er, no. Funding FDA trials is a non-issue: public funding is there already. It funds almost all drugs from A to Y.

By the time a drug company actually take part in trials, drug R&D is at Z: the drug is demonstrably not a placebo, its side effects are identified and benign, and the only real questions are securing the FDA's approval and any IP claims (both involve arcane paperwork),

The drug companies, to defend their entitlements, would like you to believe they funded the whole thing and deserve proper compensation for taking outsized risks. But the truth is, they seldom fund anything besides the paperwork and the marketing. When they do fund drug research, it invariably is about iterating on an existing drug whose IP is about to enter the public domain.

Re:While you're at it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40078983)

Er, no. Funding FDA trials is a non-issue: public funding is there already. It funds almost all drugs from A to Y.

By the time a drug company actually take part in trials, drug R&D is at Z: the drug is demonstrably not a placebo, its side effects are identified and benign, and the only real questions are securing the FDA's approval and any IP claims (both involve arcane paperwork).

I'll quote you back by saying, 'Er, no.' Granted much primary research into biological systems is carried out in publicly funded institutions, but pharma companies do not jump in when research is at stage 'Z'. The mountains of testing that takes place to see if a drug is safe: first in animal models; then in healthy subjects; then shown to be safe in the relevant patient group; then demonstrating efficacy in the patient group, crucially improved efficacy over existing treatments (and over placebo, although that's next to useless in many areas where treatments are already on the market); and shows improvement in real end-point measures – all that is paid for by pharma companies and it can take the best part of a decade and at least $500 million, often much more.

I'm not saying the pharma industry is perfect – far from it. However, patently false statements that make out 99% of research is already done and paid for through public funds is not how you go about reforming the way drugs are developed and brought to market.

Re:While you're at it... (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40079149)

Er, no...

Nearly all clinical trials from the pilot study, to the Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV are funded by pharma companies (at least in the US).

For example, let's take Lipitor, basically the best selling drug on the planet.

Although research into statins was quite old by then and there was already a statin on the market (pravastatin aka Pravacol), Dr' Bruce Roth working for Parke-Davis was researching a competitive statin, but discovered that other company had already patented the compound. Now he was restricted to work on Plan B which eventually became atorvastatin calcium (called Lipitor by Pfizer) which turned out to be much more effective than the contemporaries (Merck's lovastatin and simvastatin aka Mevacore and Zocor).

To get to atorastatin, Dr Roth led a group to analyze the statin templates of the time and attempt to synthesize a better more effective drug. There were many setbacks. Some template variations they tested had 100-time less potency, and they found a spatial relationship that had the potential to increase potency quite a bit. Playing around with the spatial relationship wasn't easy, though as many molecular substitutions resulted in unacceptable toxicity in pre-clinical trials. They key came when they discovered the penta-subsituted Pyrrole route. Now they had to figure out the mechamism to manufacture this chemical economically. They came up with a multi-fragment approach that yielded over 75% at each step which not only worked at low temperatures, and had simplified equipment requirements (e.g, no chromatography steps).

By then they had spent 8 years developing the drug 2 years developing the manufacturing process. Without major drugs in the pipeline, Parke-Davis merged into Pfizer. In the meantime, some pre-clinical trials with atovastatin showed almost no significant different for the competitors in animal trials. There were also some other potential issues (extra non-reactive sites on the molecule*** relative to other drugs might contribute to unforseen metabolic residuals or long term side effects). But they decided to move forward with human trials anyhow. The potential market for statins was so large, they thought even capturing a fraction of that would be worth it. They initially had 24 Pfizer employee volunteers for an in-house pre-clinical trial the drug and found it worked far better than the competition and decided to move toward the expensive FDA testing.

With 4 other statins on the market, the FDA was out of the statin testing business and did not want to fast-track the application, so Pfizer funded another trial to South Africa where they worked with a local doctor who attempted to treat people with a local genetic mutation that prevented them from clearing cholesterol from their blood. The doctors had already tried Zocor, and were desperate to try anything and it worked and with that data in hand, they went back to the FDA for fast-track approval. Pfizer basically foot the bill for the whole thing to get fast track approval and the rest was history.

***as it turns out, one theory of why it's much better than other similar drugs is that the non-reactive sites might promote the drug to linger in the blood longer resulting in more effacacy

Infrastructure role for government (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068379)

IMO one good fit for government is to build infrastructure upon which commerce can flourish. Usually I think of this as roads, water, sewer, communications - places where to some extent or another a duplicate system has a large barrier to entry, but upon which duplicate, redundant companies can compete to distinguish themselves.

So then I have to wonder how basic research fits into this. If the research is done and paid for by private companies, then the government is already going to step in and restrict the market by giving that company patent opportunity as reward. So does government-funded research compete against private research firms (and thereby restrict competition), or does government-funded research made publicly available jump-start private business, growing the competitive market?

I don't know the answer to this. Obviously if the research is defense- or injury-recovery-related then someone can shout "national security!" or "think of the troops!" and get it funded by the feds. I just wish there was a way to quantify the return on basic research paid for by the government then given away. ("But," you say, "sometimes basic research has no immediate return. That's why it's called basic research and that's why few companies bother with it any more." Good point.) Is there a way to restrict free usage to companies that pay U.S. taxes and grow the U.S. economy as other countries do with their research, or is that even desired? Any thoughts?

Re:Infrastructure role for government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068843)

Right now, you and US companies have to pay 25$ per research paper or $1million yearly subscription to foreign publishing megacorps so they can read US (and non US) taxpayer funded research.

Re:Infrastructure role for government (1)

mx+b (2078162) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068855)

I like your infrastructure take. That is mostly how I view it; much as government takes care of roads, communications, water, and mandates rules for things like electricity, I think the next big wave is going to be information in general. The internet needs to be regulated (in the sense of network neutrality and rules that all citizens should have access; the internet is simply too important to our lives at this point, and much work and commerce can be done online), and when it comes to scientific research, perhaps what is needed is an agency strictly in charge of cataloging our nation's research information. A government backed publisher, essentially. Post documents online for free, offer print copies mailed to you for a nominal fee. Universities already pay tons to publishers; if they re-appropriated a good fraction of that cost to government to run a public server to host it, perhaps you won't even need to raise any taxes or the like. Hell, once the server infrastructure is set up, it would probably be a huge net savings to universities and therefore the states and the general public.

Most reviewers aren't paid; I imagine many professors would gladly volunteer for a non-profit entity than the publishers to which they already volunteer. Really what makes journals great are the editors and quality of the reviewers; if you can get these quickly, then the government publisher will really take off and break the stranglehold on publishing from the titans. They will then be forced to adapt their practices if they want to continue to exist into the long term.

That's the idea that's been kicking in my head anyway.

Re:Infrastructure role for government (2)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069125)

My only problem with this is what makes it into a scientific journal? Since it's public, I would want as many studies included, but this may include junk science. But having a lower bar of entry could also be used for controversial subjects.

As rigorous as scientific method is, the definition of science has become fodder for political debate. (I initially had examples of good and bad science, but it seems that each person has their own idea of what they mean.) Whether this fodder will benefit humanity long term or even the country short term has yet to be determined. Perhaps ironically, science, like art, must push the boundaries of our own preconceptions and be willing to be bold, even when society does not wish it. Embryonic stem cell research comes to mind as a clear example between science and society (no "religious" war intended; just citing an example).

I'm hesitant of a government-backed publisher simply because science would then be defined by who is in office. Even if this was done by non-partisan people, politicians can still "withhold funding" until they get the results they want.

I think forcing studies that were paid for by taxpayers to be open is a great and important start. That way, any study, regardless of outcome, will have to be published and available for all taxpayers. To make it fully accountable, there would need to be a list of studies being conducted so that some senator/representative can't bury the results because it gets in the way of their political ideology. For added paranoia, several independent servers can archive the list and make sure every study conducted is published. For ultimate paranoia, provide a way to contact whomever is conducting the study.

Re:Infrastructure role for government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069175)

For profit publishers are not beyond cooking up science when they are paid for it, see "Australasian Journal of bone and joint medicine" which was a fake journal published by a "reputable" commercial publisher.

Re:Infrastructure role for government (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069311)

Here's the power of federally funded research: The government can do research that won't immediately and obviously lead to profits in a way that private company's research can't. A lot of research has no short-term value, and in many cases there's not even a clear idea of what the scientists will find when they examine something, but then 2 decades later it's suddenly a ground-breaking discovery.

For example, Watson and Crick were mostly government funded, and some of the practical applications of their discovery of DNA are only becoming clear now.

Does it register signatures properly? (2)

hendrikboom (1001110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069035)

I followed the link to the petition, and it told me I had already signed it.

I most certainly have not, though I might have if I weren't a Canadian and possibly ineligible to do so. But telling me I have already signed it is just plain wrong.

-- hendrik

Re:Does it register signatures properly? (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 2 years ago | (#40078201)

Perhaps you clicked it twice...

Re:Does it register signatures properly? (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40079705)

I didn't click it at all.

Thanks for your openness, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40072611)

Thanks for your openness, Americans

Very truly yours,

China
Russia

unsustainable? (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40073589)

"and even wealthy institutions like Harvard are finding the prices of proprietary journals unsustainable"

Well, I - and a lot of others - in turn find the publication prices of open access journals unpayable. And some people keep forgetting that if major journals - lots of which are US-based - would switch to open access publication models, the wide majority of non-US researchers would simply not be able to afford publishing in those journals. Well, it would reduce competition in high impact journals, that's for sure, some might enjoy that scenario. And an issue most of these advocates don't seem to care much about is that if such model would go through, there would be cases when you'd need to pay even when their papers don't get published (i.e. comes with switching all costs onto the authors).

While I don't like the prices some publishing houses use, and surely it could be improved, I don't think a simple switch to these open access models could be a quick fix. And, as I said before, if the high impact journals don't switch, and all at once (which won't happen anytime soon), then there would be no point in the whole thing anyway.

Re:unsustainable? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075607)

pfft.. as if the usa government didn't have the resources to put on a site and start requiring that people receiving their grants spend some time reviewing others papers.

the major journals are a money printing operation. they're not meant to be subscribed to with your "own" money.

Re:unsustainable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40079429)

I think you and I have different understandings of what 'open access' means (or could/should mean, at least).

  Also of the cost of publishing something online.

Also of how to budget research funds.

Re:unsustainable? (1)

pantaril (1624521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084797)

Well, I - and a lot of others - in turn find the publication prices of open access journals unpayable. And some people keep forgetting that if major journals - lots of which are US-based - would switch to open access publication models, the wide majority of non-US researchers would simply not be able to afford publishing in those journals

I understand that lot's of researchers rely on closed-access journal editors to edit their papers to publicable form and this editing work is not free.

But what prevents you from publishing at least raw/unedited version of the paper? My problem is, that results of research paid from tax-payers money are not available to taxpayers at all. If the funding doesn't cover editing and publications of the paper, just release the unedited results. But not releasing results at all is IMO wrong.

And for federally funded education? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40076345)

Suppose I got a federal grant to attend school. Does this entitle Joe taxpayer access to my papers, homework assignments, and/or thesis or senior project?

open but not not free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128511)

Do people understand that most "open" journals do charge authors page charges ? That the present day egregious paper publishers are also in the game?
so, if the goal is to make some publishing houses make money out of tax payer funded research for little value added and getting in the way of full dissemination of research, this may not cut it. We need more such as authors retaining full rights to their work and no publisher of any sort being able to abridge them. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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