Academic publishers urge Trump not to demand open access for federally funded research | The BMJ

More than 125 journal publishers and scientific and medical societies have signed a letter to Donald Trump asking him to reverse a policy they believe is being prepared that would require any journal publishing research that received US federal funding to make the article freely available without a subscription, immediately on publication.1

Currently, under the terms of a 2013 agreement, journal publishers may charge readers for federally funded research articles for 12 months from publication, after which the paywall must come down.

The revenue from those 12 months is essential to pay the costs of publication, the letter’s signatories argue. But, they write, “we have learned that the Administration may be preparing to step into the private marketplace and force the immediate free distribution of journal articles.” …

The letter also appeals to the president’s economic nationalist instincts. Requiring immediate open access, it argues, would “effectively nationalise the valuable American intellectual property that we produce and force us to give it away to the rest of the world for free.” …

The BMJ is not a signatory to either of the publishers’ letters. All original research published in The BMJ and in its sister journal BMJ Open is immediately available through open access with payment of an article processing charge. Other BMJ journals also offer open access publication.

The BMJ’s editor in chief, Fiona Godlee, said, “We support the shift to open access publishing for biomedical research, recognising that there will be winners and losers and that the priority must be to safeguard the quality and integrity of academic communication.” …”