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  • “War on science” catches on

    - It all started with an angry British scientist. Protests against the American Research Works Act limiting open access have gained momentum as bloggers, researchers and magazines like Forbes debate the matter. Particular targets are academic publishers like Netherlands-based Elsevier.

    Two weeks ago, Dr. Mike Taylor, a researcher at Bristol University, wrote an angry opinion piece for the Guardian criticizing academic publishers for profiting exorbitantly from the intellectual property of scientists. Trigger for this was a proposal put forward to the U.S. Congress limiting free access to publicly funded research.

    Especially Netherlands-based Elsevier has become target of wide ranging condemnation as Taylor writes that "Elsevier's true agenda is nothing nobler than to line their pockets at the expense of scientists worldwide and everyone with a preventable or treatable disease."

    Gaining steam

    Ever since, the debate gained further steam as a number of scientists, bloggers and magazines have taken up the subject. With his blog post "Elsevier - my part in its downfall" British mathematician Tim Gowers has gained particular attention.

    Gowers writes that "I am not only going to refuse to have anything to do with Elsevier journals from now on, but I am saying so publicly. I am by no means the first person to do this, but the more of us there are, the more socially acceptable it becomes, and that is my main reason for writing this post."

    Apart from being covered in the popular academic blog "crooked timber", the subject was picked up by Forbes magazine as well where Tim Worstall lamented that "the entire cost base and financial structure is outmoded in this internet age."

    Read here a column on the RWA by Cameron Neylon, British biophysicist, open acces expert and PLoS One editor.