Thanks to Sam Seder for hopping on this.
Lena Groeger, ProPublica:
Right now, if you want to read the published results of the biomedical research that your own tax dollars paid for, all you have to do is visit the digital archive of the National Institutes of Health. There you’ll find thousands of articles on the latest discoveries in medicine and disease, all free of charge.
A new bill in Congress wants to make you pay for that…The Research Works Act would [force taxpayers] to shell out $15 to $35 to get behind a publisher’s paid site to read the full research results.
Two members of Congress — Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. — introduced the bill.
Both Issa and Maloney have received campaign contributions from the Dutch company Elsevier, which calls itself the world’s leading publisher of scientific and medical information. According to MapLight, a website that tracks political cash, Elsevier and its senior executives last year made 31 contributions to House members totaling $29,500. Twelve contributions totaling $8,500 went to Maloney; Issa received two for a total of $2,000.
Bribery by a foreign corporation?
Bribery by a foreign corporation that would seriously damage American technology startup companies?
Issa is beyond shame. But maybe Carolyn Maloney could be persuaded to hear reason by mentioning to her that this corrupt, reprehensible, despicable, and generally stupid.
Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at UC Berkeley has blogged responses from Tom Reller of Elsevier and of Carolyn Maloney.
Maloney to Alex Kentis:
Moreover, the publishing industry has invested in providing public access to scientific journal articles. Patients can get free access to information on new research through various publisher programs including PatientINFORM.
Reller to Eisen:
The publishing industry has invested significantly in providing public access to scientific journal articles.Patients can get free access to information on new research through various publisher programs including PatientINFORM.
There may be other material that is directly plagiarized, but those sentences are enough to convict either the congresswoman or the publisher of colluding in deflecting the justifiable firestorm that is headed their way.
Added: Michael Eisen has demonstrated outstanding leadership on this. He published a piece in The NY Times. He brings out the important point that the peer review that the journals claim to be adding actually derives from professors, postdocs, and graduate students that themselves may well be paid by government funds.