Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Public access to publicly funded research

Bravo to those supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act. If it becomes law, then publications resulting from publicly funded research would have to be made available to the general public.

The specific law makes sense as a part of accountability for public funds. If public funds are spent on research, then the public can rightfully demand that it sees the results of that research.

Additionally, it's just good for the progress of knowledge. We progress faster when any random person can take part in the scholarly debate taking part in journals. Currently, anyone interested has to either pay the dues or physically trek over to a library that has.

In addition to this act passing, it would be nice if the Association of Computing Machinery stopped hiding its sponsored conferences' publications behind a pay wall. The ACM is supposed to support the advancement of computing knowledge, not tax it.

1 comment:

Alex Rudnick said...

Oh my goodness, that's wonderful! Thanks for the heads up.

I get the impression that people at universities with access to lots of journals don't often grasp that this is an issue; just use the library website to download the papers, what's the problem?

But there are paywalls between the public and publicly-funded research! That's a huge problem!

I will call my (new) representatives forthwith.