Unfortunately, far too much of what is stated in “coglanglab’s” well-meaning blog posting about Conyers’ Bill H.R. 801 is simply incorrect, starting with its title:
No, the Conyers Bill H.R. 801 is not considering killing openaccess journals; it is considering killing NIH’s right to mandate that its fundees must deposit their published journal articles in an openaccess repository — articles that have been published, for the most part, in non-openaccess journals. The Bill has nothing to do with openaccess journals.
“A recent movement has led to the creation of openaccess journals, which do not charge access fees. This movement has gained traction at universities (e.g., Harvard) and also at government agencies.”
The “openaccess journal movement” has indeed been gaining some traction, but this has next to nothing to do with either the Conyers Bill or the Harvard and NIH mandates, which have nothing to do with open-acesss journal publishing: Harvard and NIH mandate that faculty and fundees deposit their published journal articles in an openaccess repository — articles that are published, for the most part, in non-openaccess journals.
“NIH recently required the researchers they fund to publish in journals which are either openaccess or make their papers openaccess within a year of publication.”
No, the NIH did no such thing. It required the researchers they fund to deposit their published journal articles in an openaccess repository — articles published, for the most part, in non-openaccess journals — and to make those deposits openly accessible within a year of publication.”
Fortunately for the for-profit journal system, Congress is considering H.R. 801, which would forbid NIH and other government agencies from implementing such policies.”
The issue has nothing to do with for-profit vs. nonprofit journal publication. The publishers lobbying against the NIH policy include not only for-profit publishers but nonprofit publishers such as the American Chemical Society and the American Physiological Society.
“The conceit of the bill is that NIH is requiring researchers to give up their copyrights, though of course researchers hardly ever — and, as far as I know, never — retain the copyrights to their works. Publishers require the transfer of the copyright as a condition of publication.”
The “conceit” of Conyers Bill H.R. 801 is that the government should not be allowed to require researchers to make their research open access even when the research has been supported by public funds because that could interfere with the publishers’ right to make a return on their investment.
(The Conyers Bill will fail because the public investment in research is incomparably greater than the publisher’s, because the government’s contractual conditions on that funding predate any agreement the fundee makes with the publisher, and because repository deposit can be mandated even without requiring that access to the deposit be immediately made open access: The repositories’ semi-automatic “Request a Copy” Button can tide over would-be users access needs during any embargo.)