Open Access: The Worst of 2008

10. The Elsevier rules for electronic interlibrary loan: make a printout, scan the printout, and loan the scan. Not unique to Elsevier, but still a kludge to avoid taking advantage of 20th century technology.

9. The State of Oregon’s claim of copyright in its statutes. An indefensible claim leading to groundless legal threats. Relinquished when challenged.

8. The American Psychological Association’s $2,500 fee for depositing author manuscripts in PubMed Central. An attempt to charge for green OA as if it were gold OA. Withdrawn when publicized.

7. The UK Ordnance Survey use of public funds to pay a lobbying firm to push back against public pressure to provide OA to its publicly-funded mapping data. It was bad enough to charge taxpayers a second fee for access to publicly-funded data. Now it charges them for the lobbyists who work against their interests.

6. The 35 year embargo adopted by the American Anthropological Association for the OA backfiles of its two leading journals. The longest embargo or moving wall I’ve ever seen a publisher boast about. More than 10 times longer than the runner up.

5. The Google settlement’s effects on fair use. The settlement has many compensatory gains, but Google dropped a winning case and its willingness to pay for fair-use copying may force others to pay as well.

4. The 12 month embargo allowed by the NIH policy. Twice as long as the embargo used by any OA-mandating medical research funder in the world. A needless sop to the publishing lobby, and one that slows down medical research.

3. The American Association of University Presses support for the Conyers bill (a.k.a. Fair Copyright in Research Works Act). The presses said they were not opposing the NIH policy but so far have not refined their support for the bill to target the practices they dislike and spare the NIH policy.

2. The continuing slow pace of spontaneous self-archiving. Still due to inertia more than opposition, but still a problem. Habits die hard, especially when the proposed alternative is unfamiliar, widely misunderstood, and orthogonal to entrenched incentives.

1. The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act. Amending copyright law to block an OA policy consistent with current law, while pretending to be motivated by the policy’s copyright violations. Harmful bill + misleading title + deceptive rhetoric, brought to you by lobbyists paid with your subscription dollars.

Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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