In the letter they make many statements that bother me deeply including:
However, it is important to note that there is a significant difference between research results and peer-reviewed publications.Really - how are they different exactly?
Publishers such as ESA have a long record of reporting, analyzing and interpreting federally funded research.OMG - seriously? Apparently ESA is doing the analyzing and reporting and interpreting. Not the scientists writing the papers. But the publisher. Seriously. This is completely ridiculous.
It is not appropriate for the federal government to expropriate the additional value publishers add to research results.They can't be serious. This is not expropriation in any way. This is the trying to guarantee that research taxpayers have paid for - that is done by scientists that taxpayers pay the salaries of - is not then published in a way that forces the taxpayers to pay for it again.
Furthermore, subscription revenue helps to support other Society services, including scientific conferences, education programs, and the distribution of science information resources to policymakers and the public.So now what they are saying is that the government should hand them money via subscription fees so that they can then carry out some services they think are important. How about this - how about the ESA applies for peer reviewed grants to fund their activities so that these can be reviewed by others. As it is ESA can do whatever it wants with that money - being fed to it without any peer review - via indirect costs and grant money.
Papers published in ESA journals may therefore be just as relevant in several years as they are today, which means that any potential embargo period will do little to mitigate the financial losses that would result from full open access.So - the justification here for not making ecological articles available is that they are MORE important over time? So the taxpayers pays for research that is valuable and because it is valuable over time we should make it less freely available? Seriously?
And here is the best one:
One way to make taxpayer funded research more visible and accessible to interested members of the public would be to require federally-funded grantees to provide a second version of the research summaries they already prepare, specifically for the lay reader. To aid in online searches, these summaries could also include the source of federal funding institutions and grant numbers. Publishers could also include grant information in paper abstracts which are usually available without a subscription.That is right, they are suggesting that scientists write a second paper to go with their science papers that would be for the lay reader. And that these summaries could include grant IDs to help in online searches. WTF? So now rather than making the actual scientific papers available they are proposing that scientists write a second paper because lay people would not be able to understand the first paper? And what about scientists who want to read the papers but are at small institutions? And never mind that "open access" is not just about money - it is also about "freedom" in the usage of published material.
The ESA has really gone off the deep end on this. I note - I am in full support of companies and publishers making money. I am also generally against government regulations. But this issue is about taxpayers rights, government waste, and the progress of science. It is simply inexcusable for the government to not use taxpayer money judiciously.
If the government pays for the research, pays for the research supplies, pays the salaries of researchers and peer reviewers, then it is unacceptable that publishers would then limit access to papers and force taxpayers to pay for them again.
The ESA basically is saying "taxpayers should be required to subsidize us".
Or - another way to look at this - ESA is saying: "Taxpayers - we want your money -but you are too stupid to understand what we are doing with it."
Hat tip to Karen Cranston for pointing this out.
Some responses to this post:
@phylogenomics Ecologists against public access to peer reviewed publications johnhawks.net/node/28402 <-- Not ecologists; lobbyists.
— Mike Taylor (@SauropodMike) January 7, 2012
@phylogenomics ESA seems to mimic AAA arguments against #openAccess from 5 years ago alexandriaarchive.org/blog/?p=840#ES…
— Eric Kansa (@ekansa) January 7, 2012
YHGTBFKM: Ecological Society of America letter regarding #OpenAccess is disturbing - bit.ly/AAfbEj disgusting/insulting, more like
— Glyn Moody (@glynmoody) January 7, 2012
RT @drcraigmc: Really shocked by this: Ecological Society of America letter regarding #OpenAccess is disturbing shar.es/WJuK3
— Carly Strasser (@carlystrasser) January 7, 2012
Yes, disturbing, to say the least! YHGTBFKM: Ecological Society of America letter regarding #OpenAccess is disturbing shar.es/WJkdI
— Madhusudan Katti (@leafwarbler) January 7, 2012
@carlystrasser @drcraigmc That is bad. I hate in when professional societies put their revenue models ahead of their members interests.
— Eric Kansa (@ekansa) January 7, 2012
Wow, scientists being downright merchant bankers about their revenue streams & tax-funded research: phylogenomics.blogspot.com/2012/01/yhgtbf… via @mattblaze
— Lee Alley (@lee_alley) January 7, 2012
"We want your money, but you're too stupid to understand what we're doing with it." phylogenomics.blogspot.com/2012/01/yhgtbf… #openaccess
— Michael Ekstrand (@elehack) January 7, 2012
#OA without programmatic access? So wrong. Publishers, make money while *making your product useful*, would you? bit.ly/AsHetK
— Heather Piwowar (@researchremix) January 7, 2012
Academics against open access: bit.ly/Albjqt. And a response: bit.ly/wa7tiP
— Kenan Malik (@kenanmalik) January 7, 2012
Why doesn't the Ecological Society of America allow their Open Access content to be text mined? wp.me/p22qQ8-22 via @wordpressdotcom
— Scott Chamberlain (@recology_) January 7, 2012
Still think science and politics don't mix?... fb.me/W58YnJVK
— Dr. Kiki Sanford (@drkiki) January 6, 2012