Thursday, May 04, 2006

Senate tries to mandate free, online access to publicly-funded research

According to the Washington Post, two Senators (one R, one D) have introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, which would force publishers of federally-funded research to make that research publicly available, for free, online, six months after publication.

Based on the limited academic research I've done, I can tell you it's incredibly frustrating not to be able to get access to research papers. As Newton said, all researchers stand on the shoulders of giants -- all contributions to knowledge should be available, particularly if funded by taxpayers.

Of course, the usual suspects are fighting the bill:

But Patricia S. Schroeder, president and chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, promised a fight. "It is frustrating that we can't seem to get across to people how expensive it is to do the peer review, edit these articles and put them into a form everyone can understand," Schroeder said.

In the age of the Internet, everyone wants everything free, Schroeder said. "But we can't figure out what exactly the business model would be. And if you just got the raw research, you wouldn't have a clue" how to use it, she said.

You can't figure out the business model? Why don't you call the RIAA or the MPAA? They seem to have it all figured out. And, Ms. Schroeder, do me a favor -- let me decide whether I would 'have a clue.' You don't seem qualified to make that determination.