Notes on the Research Works Act
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- This page is part of the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP).
- Suggested short URL for this page = bit.ly/hoap-rwa
- Also see Notes on the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA).
The bill itself
- The Research Works Act (HR 3699) would repeal the OA policy at the NIH and block similar policies at other federal agencies.
- The main section (Section 2) is brief: "No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that -- (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or (2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-sector research work."
- The RWA was introduced in the House of Representatives by Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on December 16, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
- Contact Issa's office.
- Contact Maloney's office
- Members of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and their contact information.
- Issa and Maloney withdrew their support for the bill in a public statement on February 27, 2012.
- Excerpt: "As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future. The transition must be collaborative, and must respect copyright law and the principles of open access. The American people deserve to have access to research for which they have paid. This conversation needs to continue and we have come to the conclusion that the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate....[W]e will not be taking legislative action on HR 3699, the Research Works Act...."
- According to MapLight (Money and Politics Light), Elsevier has given two campaign contributions to Issa and 12 to Maloney for the 2012 campaign cycle. Out of 31 contributions Elsevier has made to House members for this cycle, 14 or 45% have gone to Issa and Maloney.
- According to OpenSecrets, Elsevier is the second-to-the-top contributor to Maloney for the 2012 campaign cycle.
- The Association of American Publishers (AAP) endorsed the RWA, and lobbies for it in the name of its members. However, the AAP did not consult its members before endorsing the bill, and we don't know how many AAP members actually support it.
- This section tries to track the publishers who have publicly opposed the bill.
- AAP members who oppose the RWA (chronological by announcement date):
- MIT Press. See the announcement from Ellen Faran, Director of MIT Press. January 11, 2012.
- ITHAKA. See the announcement, January 12, 2012.
- Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). See the announcement, January 12, 2012.
- Penn State University Press. See the announcement from Patrick Alexander, Director of the Penn State University Press, January 12, 2012.
- Rockefeller University Press. See the announcement from Mike Rossner, Executive Director of Rockefeller University Press, January 13, 2012.
- University of California Press. See the announcement from Alison Mudditt, Director of the University of California Press, January 13, 2012.
- Nature Publishing Group and Digital Science. See the joint announcement from Steven Inchcoombe, Managing Director for NPG, and Timo Hannay, Managing Director for Digital Science, January 18, 2012. (Digital Science is a sister company of NPG.)
- Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). See the announcement from Ginger Pinholster, Director of the AAAS Office of Public Programs, and Alan Leshner, AAAS Chief Executive Officer, January 18, 2012.
- Modern Language Association. See the announcement from Michael Bérubé, President of the MLA, January 25, 2012.
- American Institute of Physics. See the AIP's announcement (undated but released on January 31, 2012).
- John Wiley & Sons. See the statement Wiley allowed Richard Poynder to post to his blog, February 10, 2012.
- Elsevier. After supporting the bill and repeatedly defending it against criticism (1, 2, 3), Elsevier withdrew its support in a public statement on February 27, 2012.
- AAP members who apparently oppose the RWA, but whose positions require confirmation
- University of Chicago Press. In a comment on Richard Poynder's blog (January 17, 2012), Arno Bosse reports that the U of Chicago Press told him that it does not support RWA. But Bosse doesn't speak for the press and doesn't quote a statement from the press.
- Cambridge University Press. A week after CUP told Richard Poynder that "it is too early for us to make any public statements" on RWA, Poynder was allowed (January 17, 2012) to share this statement from Peter Davison, CUP's Director of Corporate Affairs: "Cambridge University Press has submitted testimony to the United States Office of Science and Technology in response to the Request for Information (2011-28623) on subjects related to HR 3699. Our testimony is not identical to the position adopted by the Association of American Publishers. In particular, we write: ‘We support all sustainable access models that ensure the permanence and integrity of the scholarly record... The Bill as proposed could undermine the underlying freedoms expected by and of scholarly authors....’ "
- American Anthropological Association. On February 3, 2012, the AAA Executive Committee issued a statement opposing "any Congressional legislation which, if it were enacted, imposes a blanket prohibition against open access publishing policies by all federal agencies." On the one hand, this description taken literally does not describe the RWA. On the other, this interpretation of the RWA is very common and might have been held by the AAA Executive Committee.
- Publishers who oppose the RWA but are not members of AAP
- International Society for Computational Biology. See the announcement from B.J. Morrison McKay, ISCB Executive Officer, January 11, 2012.
- American Physical Society. See the announcement in a letter to the NY Times by Gene Sprouse and Joseph Serene, the editor in chief and treasurer-publisher of the American Physical Society, January 13, 2012.
- Society for Cultural Anthropology. See the announcement adopted unanimously by the SCA Executive Board, January 18, 2012.
- BioMed Central. See the announcement, January 20, 2012. (Note that Springer, BMC's parent company, supports the RWA.)
- Public Library of Science. See the announcement it issued jointly with nine other US organizations, January 24, 2012.
- American Society of Plant Biologists. See the announcement from Crispin Taylor, Executive Director of the ASPB, January 30, 2012.
- Association of American University Presses (AAUP). See its announcement, February 14, 2012. (We list the AAUP here because it is not itself a member of the AAP, though many of its members are members of the AAP.)
Limited to major statements.
- Ten US library, publishing, and public-interest organizations: American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, Association of College and Research Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, Creative Commons, Greater Western Library Alliance, Public Knowledge, Public Library of Science, and the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). See their January 24, 2012, joint open letter to Congress.
- The Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). See their February 6, 2012, joint open letter to Congress.
- Seven public-health groups: Knowledge Ecology International, American Medical Student Association, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Health Action International, Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, Public Citizen, and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. See their February 8, 2012, joint open letter to Congress.
- Thirty higher-education, library, and public-interest organizations: American Association of University Professors, American Historical Association, American Library Association, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Californians Aware, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Community Research, Cost of Government Center, Defending Dissent Foundation, Demand Progress, Doctor Patient Medical Association, Essential Information, Humanist Society of New Mexico, iSolon.org, Mine Safety and Health News, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Coalition for History, OMB Watch, OpenTheGovernment.org, Progressive Librarians Guild, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Rutherford Institute, Sage Information Services, Society of American Archivists, Society of Professional Journalists, Special Libraries Association, Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University, Utah Foundation for Open Government, Washington Coalition for Open Government, and the William A. Wise Law Library at the University of Colorado Law School. See their February 9, 2012, joint open letter to Congress.
- The International Society for Computational Biology (ICSB). See its announcement, February 14, 2012.
- The eleven provosts of the universities in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC): University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. See their joint statement, February 23, 2012.
- Ninety universities, patient-advocacy organizations, and other non-profits (a few of which also signed earlier letters, above): Alzheimer's Association, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Brain Tumor Association, American Cancer Society Cancer, Action Network, American Society for Cell Biology, Arizona State University, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Association of Independent Research Institutes, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of Research Libraries, Auburn University, Clemson University, Colon Cancer Alliance, Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dakota State University, Elizabeth Ann Williamson Foundation, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, Fight Collateral Cancer, Florida State University, Georgia State University, Harvard University, HealthHIV, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, LIVESTRONG, Lymphoma Research Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Patient Advocate Foundation, North Carolina State University, Northern Illinois University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Ovarian Cancer Advocacy Alliance, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Ovarian Cancer Together, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Parkinson’s Action Network, Penn State University, Portland State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota State University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Stanford University, State University of New York at Albany, State University of New York at Buffalo, State University of New York at Stony Brook, State University of New York Council of Library Directors, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance, University of Arkansas, University of California System, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado - Boulder, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Senate Library Committee, University of Nebraska, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina - Greensboro, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Dakota, University of Utah, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Vanderbilt University, Washington University - St. Louis, Wayne State University, Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, and You'll Never Walk Alone. See their joint letter to Congress, February 24, 2012.
- Newsday. See its editorial, February 24, 2012. Notable in part because Newsday is the first in a mainstream news source to oppose RWA, and because it serves much of the NY 14th District, represented by RWA co-sponsor Carolyn Maloney.
Action against the RWA
- See the action alert against the RWA from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA).
- The ATA legislative action center has a modifiable, click-ready letter to legislators in opposition to RWA.
- See the petition against the RWA at We The People, the White House petition site. Online since January 23, 2012. If the petition gathers 25k signatures, the Obama administration will review it and issue an official response.
- Any letter to Congress opposing the RWA should be part of a letter in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA).