Friday, January 06, 2012

Academic publishers acting badly

Over the last two weeks, I've been following many worried online conversations about SOPA and the newly hatched Research Works Act. One place where I hadn't read much about it was from my place of work so just now, I uncharacteristically spammed all my colleagues about it.

If you would like to spam your own colleagues about these diabolical plans, feel free to use the text below as a starting or ending point.

I don't mean to spam you all, but there are two pieces of pending legislature in the US that I think should be of interest to all of us.

The first is SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, which is being described as having the power to "break the internet"
A number of academic publishers are on record supporting SOPA including: Macmillan (parent company of Nature Publishing), Pearson Educational, and Elsevier.

The second piece of legislation is "The Research Works Act" and it's backed by the American Association of Publishers. This act seeks to circumvent open access publishing guidelines from organizations such as the NIH. The AAP/PSP membership includes many scholarly societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union... as well as The Library of Congress, Ithaka (JSTOR),  and the MLA.
The legislators supporting this act receive considerable campaign funding from Elsevier.

There are librarians working on trying to craft some sort of formal response to these acts. One activity in particular that I happen to support, is actively encouraging librarians to stop contributing their research and the labour to Elsevier titles such as the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

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