PDF _ RL33023 - Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy
12-Dec-2006; Genevieve J. Knezo; 55 p.

Abstract: Controversies about open access publishing and archiving confront issues of copyright and governmental competition with the private sector. Traditional publishers typically charge readers subscriber fees to fund the costs of publishing and distributing hard-copy and/or online journals. In contrast, most open access systems charge authors publication fees and give readers free online access to the full text of articles. Supporters of the open access “movement” object to the rising costs of journal subscriptions; share peer reviewers’ reluctance to do free reviews for journals rapidly escalating in price; and believe that scientific collaboration, advancement, and utilization will be hastened by free access to information. Traditional subscriber-pays commercial publishers and some scholarly associations object to most open access publishing because it may weaken the publishing industry and erode profits. Critics seek to limit free government-run repositories only to articles and citations from federally sponsored research; others oppose fees in the thousands of dollars charged to authors to pay the costs of publishing articles or view as unreliable foundation donations that sustain some open access activities.

In response to congressional action in 2004 and 2005, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented a policy that requires authors it funds to voluntarily submit copies of their manuscripts to NIH’s free access electronic database, PubMed Central (PMC), as soon as possible after a journal accepts the article for publication, but within 12 months. The policy allows a publisher-imposed embargo, or delay, before allowing free public access to the manuscript. Many publishers oppose this policy and there is only about a 4% compliance rate by grantees. In September 2006, NIH publicized procedures to permit publishers to post manuscripts or articles directly to PMC and to give NIH free access to some articles for the embargo period. In the 109th Congress, report language on H.R. 3010, signed as P.L. 109-149, endorsed NIH’s policy to post peer-reviewed manuscripts and mandated NIH to develop its open access repository, PubChem, and to avoid duplication with private efforts. H.R. 5647 would have mandated NIH-funded researchers to submit final manuscripts to PMC; S. 2104 would have required submission within six months. S. 2695, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), would have required federal agencies with research funding exceeding $100 million annually to require all their federally funded researchers to deposit final manuscripts in a publicly accessible archive within six months of acceptance by a publisher.

During the 110th Congress, issues likely to generate controversy could include the FRPAA, which may be reintroduced; modification of NIH’s Public Access policy to require the government to link to the original journal’s website to read articles; monitoring the added costs of expanding PubMed Central; determining if other agencies will use governmental nonexclusive licensing to allow access to commercially published journal articles, regardless of copyright ownership; assessing the quality of science published in open access journals; and evaluating the economic impacts of open access publishing on traditional publishing. This report will be updated as needed.

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Topics: General, Information

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