Congressional bill would block Open Access

Reposted from Savage Minds.

Important post from Change Congress over at Huffington Post:

You may have heard of Big Oil, but have you heard of “Big Paper”? We know, it sounds absurd, but check this out.

Right now, there’s a proposal in Congress to forbid the government from requiring scientists who receive taxpayer funds for medical research to publish their findings openly on the Internet.

This ban on “open access publishing” (which is currently required) would result in a lot of government-funded research being published exclusively in for-profit journals — inaccessible to the general public.

Why on earth would anyone propose this? A new report by transparency group MAPLight.org shows that sponsors of this bill — led by Rep. John Conyers — received twice as much money from the publishing industry as those on the relevant committee who are not sponsors.

This is exactly the kind of money-for-influence scheme that constantly happens behind our backs and erodes the public’s trust in government.

A notice from Change Congress’s Facebook page suggests action you can take. (Reproduced here after the jump.)

We sent out an email to our supporters this week highlighting a certain bill going before Congress to forbid the government from requiring scientists who receive taxpayer funds for medical research to publish their findings openly on the Internet.

This ban on “open access publishing” (which is currently required) would result in a lot of government-funded research being published exclusively in for-profit journals — inaccessible to the general public.

We’re asking folks to call their member of Congress and tell them to vote against this bill. We’ve also drafted up a phone script for you to use at the bottom of this note:

202-224-3121 – to call your local House member
202-225-3951 – to call Rep. Conyers

So far we’ve had great coverage on the issue and hope you can continue to help it grow:

HUFF POST: Is John Conyers shilling for special interests?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-lessig-and-michael-eisen/is-john-conyers-shilling_b_171189.html

TECH PRESIDENT: What Cash Records Suggest About Conyers’ Clamp Down on Open Science
http://techpresident.com/blog-entry/what-cash-records-suggest-about-conyers-clamp-down-open-science

OPEN ACCESS NEWS: Publisher money behind the Conyers bill
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2009/03/publisher-money-behind-conyers-bill.html

JACK & JILL POLITICS: Is John Conyers Shilling for Big Paper?
http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2009/03/is-john-conyers-shilling-for-big-paper/

SUPERSPADE: Rep. Conyers, the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act is not fair
http://www.thesuperspade.com/rep-conyers-the-fair-copyright-in-research-works-act-is-not-fair/

HAL PLOTKIN: We Must Stop Conyers Corrupt H.R. 801
http://www.plotkin.com/blog-archives/2009/03/we_must_stop_co_1.html

LESSIG BLOG: John Conyers and Open Access
http://www.lessig.org/blog/2009/03/john_conyers_and_open_access.html

We hope you’ll make a call today and help grow the effort! Below is the phone script for the phone calls.

Thanks!

Japhet Els
Change Congress
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“Hello, my name is __________ and I’d like to let Rep. [NAME] know that I, along with groups like the American Library Association, the Alliance For Taxpayer Access as well as 33 Nobel Laureates in science, oppose bill H.R. 801 the “Fair Copyright in Research Act,” that will keep valuable tax-payer funded research inaccessible to the public online. This sort of life-saving research and information should be open for all to read on the Internet and not hidden from the public in for-profit journals.

I am deeply concerned about a new report from MAPLight.org showing that sponsors of this bill, led by Congressman Conyers, received twice as much money in campaign contributions, as those who are non-sponsors. This sort of influence-peddling is exactly what needs to be stopped in our government.

I’m calling to ask Rep. [NAME] to publicly put out a statement opposing H.R. 801. Can you please deliver that message?

Thank you for your time.”

NOTE: For Rep. Conyers, please ask him to drop bill H.R. 801