The U.S. Congress is currently debating a new law meant to keep
American agencies from making publicly funded research available
for free. In a contribution to the Guardian, Dr.
Mike Taylor (Bristol University) describes the Research Works Act (RWA) as a "war declaration"
Exorbitant fees from copyrights
Taylor brings up the example of the American National Institutes
of Health which fund health related research boosting an annual
budget of $30 billion (€23,4 billion) making their findings
available for free for anyone. If the law passed, this organization
would be kept from doing so playing in the hands of major
publishers like Elsevier, according to Taylor.
He claims that Netherlands-based publisher Elsevier strongly
lobbied for the law having donated large amounts of money to the
two politicians that introduced the RWA to Congress. "Elsevier's
true agenda is nothing nobler than to line their pockets at the
expense of scientists worldwide and everyone with a preventable or
Open access on the rise
The British researcher continues bashing academic publishers
criticizing them for the exorbitant profits they extract through
copyright claims charging between €25 and €40 per article viewed.
This would be a significant obstacle to the progress of science and
a considerable burden on university libraries paying monthly fees
Taylor holds that nowadays research could be made easily
available online and advocates that instead of giving up their
copyrights, scientists should pay fees for the service publishers
provide. Open access would be another road to follow given the
tremendous success of platforms like
PLoS One involving efficient low-cost peer reviewing and