I value high quality peer-reviewed research. It's important. And peer-reviewed journals with high standards and ethics are necessary.
Given the amount of work involved, I think it's okay for privately funded research to be behind a pay wall for certain period of time - publishers need to recoup their money for editing and publishing journals which include not only research papers but articles, letters, and reviews.
Once more knowledge milestones are met and that privately funded research becomes effectively dated then it would best be released into the wild where the general public and students at community colleges and high schools could access it for free.
But this bill? This bill would ensure charging access to tax payer funded research.
An excerpt from the Doing Good Science blog on Scientific American web site pretty much sums up my own thoughts about it:
"The public is all too willing already to see public money spent funding scientific research as money wasted. If members of the public have to pay again to access research their tax dollars already paid for, they are likely to be peeved. They would not be wrong to feel like the scientific community had weaseled out of fulfilling its obligation to share the knowledge it builds for the good of the public. (Neither would they be wrong to feel like their government had fallen down on an ethical obligation to the public here, but whose expectations of their government aren’t painfully low at the moment?) A rightfully angry public could mean less public funding for scientific research — which means that there are pragmatic, as well as ethical, reasons for scientists to oppose the Research Works Act."Read more commentary about this at the Doing Good Science blog on the Scientific American web site:
The original text of US HR Bill 3699:
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