Free access to publicly funded research
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How can people access freely to publicly funded research results?
From two things one: – either the government agencies buy the copyrights of privates scholarly publishers and then make available articles on governmental web sites
– or it publish himself the final reports or the intermediate or progress reports that the publicly funded researchers have produced.
But one thing for sure, since the recent “research works act” bill, the government or the federal agencies have no more the possibility to force or to mandate for free, by rule, the dissemination of the private scholarly publications issued from the peer reviewed journals.
A third possibility should be the government using the open access journals, but in that case instead of buying the copyrights afterward, federal agencies will be charged before the publication procedure.
Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that the fundamental difference between a final report of a research work and a peer reviewed article issued from the same research work are: – the length (average length for a report: 60 pages vs 20 for an article), – the use of technical and complex words in the writing (because the articles are peer reviewed and aimed at the intention of a wider number of readers, mostly outside the institution, technical words and context have to be explained), – the transfer of responsibility in case of mistake or falsification of data (private publisher are eager to retract the article if a falsification or a conflict of interest is disclosed but will a federal agencies do the same?) and last but not least – scholarly publications are the products of multinational, world-wide expanded, globalised enterprises that are independent from the policy of a single state. And this must be seen as a guarantee of the independence of science from political pressure like, for example, the recent attempt by the US government to stop the publication by a Netherlander searchers team of their findings on the H5N1 flu virus mutation capacity (see here and here for more information).
Below are three references if you want to read more on the topic of the dissemination of research works:
1)My Argument for Public Access to Research Reports
2)Publishers Applaud “Research Works Act,”Bipartisan Legislation To End
Government Mandates on Private-Sector Scholarly Publishing
3)A BILLTo ensure the continued publication and integrity of peer-
reviewed research works by the private sector.