Open Access In Trouble

If you haven’t already heard, there are several movements afoot that oppose open access. Here’s 2:

  • Research Works Act Legislation: Introduced in the House of Representatives on Dec. 16, 2011 by Rep. Darrell Issa (R. Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D- N.Y.). The aim of this legislation is to prevent regulatory interference with private-sector research publishers in the production, peer review and publication of scientific, medical, technical, humanities, and basically all scholarly journal articles. The legislation has been praised by the Copyright Alliance as safeguarding authors’ copyright. What does it mean in the long run? Fighting against open access policies like the NIH Public Access Policy or allowing publicly funded research to be deposed in open access repositories.  There’s already a lot of information on this legislation. But take a look at Robin Peek’s answer, the Duke Scholarly Communications Blog or this article in PW.
  • Stop Online Privacy Act (H.R. 3261): House Judiciary Committee Charman Lamar Smith (R -Texas) hopes to remove a provision in the Stop Online Privacy Act. That provision is to block access to certain websites that are believed to be dedicated to copyright infringement. If a website does infringe on copyright, then the DoJ would be allowed to ask web services like search engines, social networking sites and domain name services to black access to the site. Does this sound familiar? Already the Internet Archive is blacklisted in China. Here’s a response from the Library Copyright Alliance.
  • Creative Commons opens up discussion process to result in a new version (4.0) of their Creative Commons license suite. The official news post came out on Dec. 9, 2011. Creative Commons licenses are very popular. But this new discussion process is not without controversy. One of those topics under discussion is how to use the Creative Commons licenses on an international scale.

Definitely, the discussion on the next version of Creative Commons licenses is to better accommodate international uses of the licenses, it still bears on how we as a community at large distribute and make available resources. With the looming Research Works Act legislation, it seems that there is a movement to stifle open access and sharing resources. Stay tuned…

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