Scholarly Journal Publishers Voice Opposition to Public Access Act

WASHINGTON, DC—March 6, 2012—This week, 81 U.S. scholarly journal publishing organizations expressed their strong opposition to the third introduction of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA, H.R. 4004 and S.2096).

The Assn. of American Publishers’ Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (AAP/PSP) and the DC Principles Coalition sent letters on behalf of a diverse cross-section of American non-profit, scholarly society and commercial organizations to key members of Congress.

“FRPAA is little more than an attempt at intellectual eminent domain, but without fair compensation to authors and publishers,” said Tom Allen, president and CEO, AAP.

“While we oppose this bill, we have always advocated that long-needed dialogue about public access to federally-funded research will be best addressed through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy process as created by Congress, not through legislation such as FRPAA and the Research Works Act. We have been participating in the OSTP process and continue to support it.”

The main points of opposition to FRPAA expressed by the 81 signatories include:

• It requires that final manuscripts of researchers’ journal articles that explain, interpret and extensively report the results of federally-funded research—manuscripts that have undergone publishers’ validation, digital enhancement, production, interoperability and distribution processes—be publicly available online, worldwide, no more than six months after publication.

• The one-size-fits-all six-month deadline for every federal agency that funds research ignores well-known significant differences in how each research discipline discovers and uses individual articles, periods that can last several years before costs are recovered.

• It limits where government-funded researchers may publish their work.

• It undermines publishers’ investments in new business models that currently provide unprecedented access for the public to such works for free or at modest cost.

• At a time when Congress is looking to cut unnecessary expenses in federal government and focus budgets on priorities, FRPAA imposes additional costs on all federal agencies by requiring them to divert critical research funding to the creation and management of new databases, archives and infrastructure to handle dissemination of these articles — functions already being performed by private-sector publishers.

Source: AAP.