Effect Measure

It’s b-a-a-a-c-k. And I’m glad.

When two of the most loathsome members of the US Senate bring back again a bill that won’t die, you’d think I’d be in high dudgeon. But I’m not. I hope the bill isn’t killed or is allowed to die — again — and we finally get it. I’d much rather that the two right wing whack jobs, Senators Joe Liberman (morally corrupt Independent neé Democrat) and John Cornyn (morally corrupt Republican), spent their time sponsoring this kind of legislation than making their usual mischief that hurts everyone. What is this miracle legislation that brings me together with these usually worthless publicly supported time server water carriers for the rich? FRPAA!

FRPAA is the Federal Research Public Access Act which requires taxpayer supported research from designated federal agencies to be publicly accessible online within 6 months of publication in a scientific journal. To be fair to the way the world usually is, the current revival of FRPAA is not from Liberman/Cornyn in the Senate but Mike Doyle (D-PA) in the House, but it sounds like it is essentially the same as the 2009 Senate version from the Brothers Grimm:

The bill’s open access mandate would apply to the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation, among other agencies.

The first version of FRPAA was introduced in Congress in 2006 (later dying in committee), and was modeled, like the current bill, after an open access mandate at the National Institutes of Health, which requires that all NIH-funded research be deposited in PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.

“FRPAA reflects the growing trend among funding agencies — and college and university campuses — to leverage their investment in the conduct of research by maximizing the dissemination of results,” read a statement from the Scholarly Publishing and Research Coalition, which is urging its members to support the bill. (The Scientist)

While the big publishers and some scientific societies still oppose it, the principle that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay twice for access to research they funded has gained a lot of traction, with big universities like Harvard, MIT and Boston University solidly behind it with their own open access policies. Private funders like the Wellcome Trust are also onboard as are many scientists, including us.

Congress finally got over the health insurance hump, albeit with a version that’s pretty weak tea. Maybe they can at last do better with open access for work the public paid for. That would seem to be a no brainer, if you aren’t a publisher raking off profit by privatizing public money.

If Liberman and Cronyn can swallow it without gagging, it should go down easy for a person with normal morals. Unless the publishing special interests have a choke hold on their campaign finances.

Comments

  1. #1 Frank Mirer
    April 21, 2010

    How much does it really cost to maintain a peer-reviewed on-line journal? Including maintaining availability into the future?

  2. #2 Snowy Owl
    April 21, 2010

    Welcome back, the Fonz of Public Health, lol

    Here are the Canadian Report on malfunction and lack of control quality of Tasers as brought up by CBC journalists (in english this time) that prompt the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to destroy hundreds of tasers because it emitted more volts and has cause many deaths.

  3. #4 Snowy Owl
    April 21, 2010

    Excerps;

    Tasers are designed to incapacitate a person through up to five centimetres of clothing. Taser International says the electrical pulse is delivered at a high voltage because the electric current has to pass through clothing and air — neither of which is a good conductor of electricity — to make a complete circuit with the target’s skin.

    Taser International also says that while its device can deliver up to 50,000 volts, it does not deliver that much voltage to a person’s body. The company says its Advanced Taser M26 delivers an average of 1,500 volts.

    As well, the high-voltage pulse of a Taser is said to carry only a small current, typically 0.002 to 0.03 amps.

    By comparison, electrical outlets in Canada deliver 120 volts of electricity, and the current they carry depends on the appliance that’s plugged into them. A 60-watt light bulb, for example, pulls 0.5 amps, while a toaster pulls about five amps.

    It’s possible to suffer a fatal shock from a household electrical socket, at just 120 volts, if enough current passes through the body

    Tests conducted for CBC News/Radio-Canada, however, found that some stun guns produced higher-than-advertised current.

    The procedures, conducted by U.S.-based lab National Technical Systems, found that 10 per cent of the X26 model Tasers produced more electrical current than the weapons’ specifications.

    In some cases, the current was up to 50 per cent stronger than specified. The X26 Tasers were manufactured before 2005 and are one of the most commonly used models.

    Taser International said CBC made scientific errors by failing to spark-test the weapons before firing them, a process the company recommends police officers do on a regular basis. But engineers who reviewed the testing protocol for CBC said the tests were based on solid practices.

    In late March, 2009, the Quebec government decided to pull all its stun guns off the street after their own testing found five of 52 Tasers made before 2005 performed outside the normal range.

    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/03/18/f-taser-faq.html#ixzz0lkrLb6YS

  4. #5 Ash
    April 21, 2010

    I’m a strong supporter of public access to science (regardless of whether it’s taxpayer-funded or not). Philosophically, I like seeing the details of science out in the open where they can be readily scrutinized by anyone, and not just those who happen to belong to an institution subscribing to a particular journal or willing to pay for each paper they view.

    There are plenty of open-access journals that seem to be doing just fine. Maybe they aren’t attractive to researchers operating on a shoestring budget, since the author usually has to pay for publication in this case (there are, after all, costs associated with the process), but it’s a start.

    Hopefully as time goes on the journals can further minimize costs and streamline the process. To me, hard copy journals are pretty much obsolete, and it makes sense to ditch them completely in favour of online-only publication (I guess the one use for hard copies is that if the journal isn’t open access, a member of the public can walk into a university library and read a copy at no cost). This would also make it easier to include more supporting data in appendices or supplemental files, without worrying about page counts.

  5. #6 Snowy Owl
    April 22, 2010

    In the last 7 years, I had received a couple of thousand requests for medical information from Africa, India, Sri Lanka and many doctors.

    It had helped a lot. The Peer Review Journal is trusted in countries as far as in the suburb of Dakar Senegal, where villae doctors have access to the internet only via Dakar University and for about 30 minutes a week.

    One thin is evident too, even if the information is there on the web it dosn’t mean it is accessible, wich motivate me to athered the informations as much as possible on one site.

    In India, a Provincial Health department ask for the latest datas on how to eradicate mosquitoes to avoid Chickununya infections.

    It worked and three provinces act swiftly with the good information to et rid as much as possible of mosquitoes larva and thus they reduced morbidity and mortality from Chikungunya infections.

    The problem in emergency, like the H1N1 pandemic, some datas where under embaroed waiting for Peer Review. On this aspect they should do their best to accelerate the process.

    Still, despite this, last fall a study on the use of Lipitor in ICU lost cases gave great results, tit reduce mortality of 50% in ICU after everything else has been tried.

    They brouht up on line swiftly the results of ICU attemps, allowing me to forward this to Intensivists in many country.

    Yes Peer Reviews papers should be put on-line and free as soon as possible, it does indeed saves lives.

  6. #7 M. Randolph Kruger
    April 22, 2010

    I would assume this would stretch to the entire files on glowball warming too? Indeed when I tried to gain access to the information from one Mr. Hansen, the Democrat weather super scientist that Mr. Gore has been so recalcitrant to back lately, I was denied.

    The sword cuts both ways. It is a good point though Revere. If we are planning to keep this country intact there is going to have to be a fundamental shift back to the center. This kind of stuff is just one thread, the cloth though is starting to unweave and its not just healthcare either.

    But, they have to have time to publish. They have to have time to reap their benefits and the universities are the biggest culprits. But flat denial of FOIA requests are going un-actioned by this government and not the universities. Conspiracy? Yeah, maybe but its not Kansas any longer Toto. This is the least of our worries as the real indications of a revolution are starting to show.

    When a government refuses to accede to the wishes of the people, when is it sedition to act against said government? To even speak out against this government is considered to be seditious. I did and I had an IRS audit notification within two days.

    Coincidence?

    Maybe, but now a pair of Senators are asking the questions instead of me. You are correct to demand that this info be released Revere and I applaud it. I found it interesting that I was on a list after asking for the weather data.. Now how does that happen?

  7. #8 BostonERdoc
    April 22, 2010

    Question Revere: Was Liberman morally corrupt when I assume you voted for him on the Democratic Kerry ticket? Also, if morally corrupt then isnt all decisions he makes also morally corrupt? Sorry dude cant have it both ways.

  8. #9 revere
    April 22, 2010

    BostonERDoc: That’s silly. Yes, he was morally corrupt then and I voted for Kerry. Like a lot of things I had to take Lieberman as part of the package, a package that had “not George Bush” written on it. The idea that all decisions made by a morally corrupt person are invalid doesn’t make sense. If he decides to give a beggar a dollar does that mean all other decisions are OK? Obviously not. Nor are the converse or contrapositive true.

  9. #10 Nathan
    April 22, 2010

    Hmm, I’m all for the dissemination of scientific knowledge, but still, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I suspect that those genuinely interested in the science will be far outweighed by those looking to data-mine and cherry pick from them.

    For instance, many climate change skeptics pick out things that, to a layman, sound contradictory, but are actually explainable by those who understand what the data means. A hyperbolic example would be the whole “hah there’s lots of snow, therefore global warming is false” sentiment that spread around this winter.

    I worry that all we’ll really end up accomplishing is dumping more fuel on political fires. Since often it’s easy to latch on to one thing that sounds questionable in a sound-bite, but explanations of what’s really going on require a much more in depth look.

  10. #11 pizzapotamus
    April 23, 2010

    Lieberman was Gore’s VP on the 2000 Democratic Party ticket, not Kerry’s in 2004. I don’t like him now and I didn’t like him then either but the top of the ticket is more important(Gore preferred over Bush) and if we look at the VP candidates Lieberman may still come out ahead as morally corrupt seems a wholly inadequate descriptor for Dick Cheney

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