Fwd: Letter to Congressman Gordon

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 16:15:26 -0400

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Peter Suber peter.suber -- gmail.com
Date: Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 3:59 PM
Subject: [SOAF] Letter to Congressman Gordon
To: SPARC Open Access Forum <SPARC-OAForum_at_arl.org>

[Forwarding from Mike Rossner, Executive Director of the Rockefeller
University Press.  --Peter Suber.]

March 31, 2010

The Honorable Bart Gordon
Committee on Science and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Rayburn House Office Building 2306
Washington, D.C. 20515-4306

Dear Chairman Gordon,

I am writing to take issue with a letter that was sent to you on March
19th by Glen Campbell and Susan King on behalf of the
Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) of the Association of
American Publishers (AAP).  The Rockefeller University Press is a
member of the AAP/PSP, but Mr. Campbell and Ms. King do not represent
our views regarding public access to scholarly research.  We strongly
support the efforts of the Federal government, such as the NIH mandate
and the Federal Research Public Access Act, to provide public access
to the results of Federally funded research.

In their letter, Mr. Campbell and Ms. King state that, "As of now, the
impact of the Federal Government-mandated and unfunded embargo periods
on the continued viability of affected publishers is not clear and
could not be quantified by the Roundtable or other experts who have
studied the issue."  This is inaccurate.  We and other non-commercial
publishers of biomedical research journals have shown that public
access to journal content six months after publication is compatible
with continued subscription sales.  At The Rockefeller University
Press, we have provided this form of public access since January,
2001, and our subscription revenues have grown every year through

Mr. Campbell and Ms. King also state that Federal public access
initiatives are "not consistent with copyright principles."  This is
also inaccurate.  The copyrights to which they refer are taken by most
publishers from their rightful owners, the authors of scholarly
articles.  The Federal public access initiative is completely
consistent with the authors’ desire to have their work disseminated as
widely as possible.  Even when they are required to sign over
copyright to a publisher, authors who are subject to the NIH mandate
legally retain the right to place their articles in a public
repository (PubMed Central) for distribution to the public 12 months
after the publication date.  Thus, Federal public access initiatives
are also consistent with copyright law.

We at The Rockefeller University Press disagree with the tactics used
by Mr. Campbell and Ms. King, who claim that Federal public access
initiatives threaten their business model, but they do not provide any
data to back up this claim.  The data that we cite above indicate that
public access mandates are not a threat to the subscription-based
business models of scholarly publishers.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Rossner, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Rockefeller University Press

These comments are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily
reflect the position of The Rockefeller University.
Received on Wed Mar 31 2010 - 21:16:26 BST

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