AAP Statement on Open Access Legislation In Consolidated Appropriations Act

Hidden Legislation Affects Taxpayers, Violates Congressional Rules

“Hiding substantive legislation that affects US taxpayers on page 1020 of a 1500-page appropriations bill — without a chance for debate and in violation of Congressional rules — is bad process and leads to bad law.

“With this legislation, the proponents of one-size-fits-all, no-exemptions 12-month embargoes have shown their reluctance to expose the merits of their assumptions to the full debate possible in ‘regular order’ legislative process. These advocates’ assertions that 12-month embargoes are appropriate for all journals ignore the recent release of the first major independent study of journal articles' usage patterns, a quantitative study confirming that different disciplines have different journal usage patterns and, therefore, need different policies. Many published journals are used by more than half their subscribers long after 12 months from publication, including some reporting on research in disciplines subject to the new provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

With the addition of the provision, Congress also neglects prior legislative decisions. In the America COMPETES Reauthorization, Congress itself directed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to expand public access to federally funded research. The scholarly publishing community supports the OSTP process and, to provide a solution, has developed a service free to taxpayers and built on existing infrastructure providing the public, libraries, agencies and others with greater access. This provision of the Omnibus contradicts the OSTP process already put in place by Congress. The OSTP’s deliberate and collaborative effort, nearing completion, should not be preempted and derailed.”

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Professional and Scholarly Publishing
Public Access