The American Association of Publishers and the anti-open access DC Principles group have sent letters to both houses of Congress outlining why they oppose the Federal Research Public Access Act, which would make the results of all federally funded research publicly available. They largely trot out the same tired “not all publishers are alike, so don’t impose a single model on all of us” baloney they’ve been using for years.
But one part of the letter really caught my eye:
[FRPAA] would also compel American taxpayers to subsidize the acquisition of important research information by foreign governments and corporations that compete in global markets with the public and private scientific enterprises conducted in the United States.
Huh? Think about what they’re saying: The US government should not make the results of taxpayer funded research available to all US citizens because it would also be made available to foreigners, which would give them a leg up over American companies in the competitive global marketplace. And how are the publishers going to protect us from this looming threat? By denying these nefarious foreign entities access to the information they are going to use to trounce us? No! The publishers want Congress to insist that these foreigners pay them a small fee to facilitate their fleecing of America.
COME ON! This one sentence exposes the publishers who wrote and signed the letter either as racist idiots who have no clue about how science works and what its goals are, or as craven liars willing to trot out xenophobic claptrap to promote their agenda.
We are not talking about classified information here – we’re talking about information that authors are willingly making freely available. And these foreigners the publishers are deriding are not enemies. They are our collaborators in science – whose ability to build on work generated in the US benefits us all. This is how science works, you morons!
Earlier in the letter, these signers of the letter claim that they are “devoted to ensuring wide dissemination of the results of all peer-reviewed research”. That they would then have the gall to put forward the argument that US interests are served by impeding to free flow of scientific information to scientists in other countries makes it clear that this is a complete and utter lie. This is one of the most repulsive things I have seen from the forces that oppose public access – anyone who signed this letter should be ashamed, and is deserving of our contempt.