Our scientific societies need to quit the Association of American Publishers

By coming out in favor of the odious Research Works Act, which would end the NIH’s Public Access Policy, the American Association of Publishers has proven, once again, that it is eager to place its narrow interests ahead of those of the scientific community and public.

It should come as now surprise that publishing behemoths like Elsevier would back such a reactionary piece of legislation. But it should infuriate members of the scientific community to know that most of their scientific societies are backing this repeal effort through their membership in the AAP.

The AAP has a long history of opposing efforts to provide access to the scientific and medical literature. And, with the latest action, there can no longer be any doubt that this organization is hellbent on thwarting beneficial change in scholarly publishing.

In contrast to the actions of the AAP, some of the scientific societies who are members of AAP were early proponents of PubMed Central, and many others have, in recent years, taken important and meaningful steps towards open access. This puts them at clear odds with the actions of the AAP.

I urge all of my colleagues to join me in calling for the societies that represent our interests to denounce the Research Works Act (HR-3699) and to suspend or withdraw their support for the AAP until it recognizes the importants of public access to scientific research and immediately ceases to oppose efforts to provide it.

Please contact your societies directly and express your dismay at their support for HR-3699.

These societies are members through FASEB:

  • The American Physiological Society (APS)
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
  • American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)
  • American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
  • The American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
  • American Association of Anatomists (AAA)
  • The Protein Society
  • Society for Developmental Biology (SDB)
  • American Peptide Society (APEPS)
  • Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF)
  • The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR)
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI)
  • Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR)
  • Teratology Society
  • The Endocrine Society
  • The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
  • Environmental Mutagen Society (EMS)
  • International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • Genetics Society of America (GSA)
  • American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR)
  • The Histochemical Society (HCS)
  • Society for Pediatric Research (SPR)
  • Society for Glycobiology (SfG)

And many others are direct members of the AAP. A partial list includes (a full list is here):

  • AAAS
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Association of Cancer Research
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Physics
  • American Mathematical Society
  • American Medical Association
  • American Nurses Association
  • The American Physiological Society
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
  • The Feminist Press
  • Highwire Press – Stanford University
  • Journal of Rehabilitation and Development (JRRD)
  • Massachusetts Medical Society
  • National Academy Press
  • Nature America
  • New England Journal of Medicine
  • Oncology Nursing Society
  • The Optical Society

Their actions on this matter are egregious and they need to know we disapprove.


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