“War on science” catches on

Nieuws | de redactie
1 februari 2012 | 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 BristolUniversity, wrote an angry opinion piece for the Guardiancriticizing academic publishers for profiting exorbitantly from theintellectual property of scientists. Trigger for this was a proposal put forward to the U.S. Congresslimiting free access to publicly funded research.

Especially Netherlands-based Elsevier has become target of wideranging condemnation as Taylor writes that “Elsevier’s true agendais nothing nobler than to line their pockets at the expense ofscientists worldwide and everyone with a preventable or treatabledisease.”

Gaining steam

Ever since, the debate gained further steam as a number ofscientists, bloggers and magazines have taken up the subject. Withhis blog post “Elsevier – my part in its downfall”British mathematician Tim Gowers has gained particularattention.

Gowers writes that “I am not only going to refuse to haveanything to do with Elsevier journals from now on, but I am sayingso publicly. I am by no means the first person to do this, but themore of us there are, the more socially acceptable it becomes, andthat is my main reason for writing this post.”

Apart from being covered in the popular academic blog “crooked timber”, the subject was pickedup by Forbes magazine as well where Tim Worstalllamented that “the entire cost base and financial structure isoutmoded in this internet age.”

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

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