California throws the gauntlet in NPG's face

This is the sort of event I can never, ever manage to predict. Like the Harvard OA mandate. Or the PRISM Coalition.

In brief, Nature Publishing Group tried the usual big-publisher contract-renewal tactics: jack the price a lot, because although librarians squeal, faculty never listen, so eventually the librarians knuckle under and sign the big fat check.

Only this time? Not only is check signage at risk, but so is all the free labor that University of California faculty provide to NPG in the form of authoring, editing, and peer review. That latter is the real boycott, and everyone involved knows it.

Pass me the popcorn. This is getting good.

Edited to add: Very nice writeup by Jen Howard in the Chronk. You must read all the way through to the end; that final quote is a lulu.

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That's really, really awesome. I hope they make it stick.

All I can say is: WOW. *Incredibly* good news, and here's hoping it's the start of a landslide. Thanks for keeping us posted!

By Maura Smale (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Very interesting, thanks. I liked the idea in one of the comments that the US Gov't should extend the NIH mandate ideas to all publicly-funded research. The BRTF-SDPA suggested this idea to Chris Greer, now attached to White House, in some post-report work. Things like this might kick it out of long grass onto the fairway (if I've got my golfing analogy right!).

By Chris Rusbridge (not verified) on 09 Jun 2010 #permalink

The Federal Research Public Access Act, if enacted, would do most of what you want, Chris. It's not quite all federally-funded research (just the Big Eleven, which is still plenty big), but it'd be an immense advance over the current situation.

Gerald Celente has suggested we face renaissance or ruin. Authorities will only do what people let them - the little guy needs renaissance, not ruin.

I read it, thank you, Ms. Baynes. I am thoroughly unimpressed by it.

I have had occasion to praise NPG for its forward-looking experiments with online media. In this case, however, NPG is unequivocally in the wrong and I predict that NPG will suffer for it, one way or another.

Because I value those experiments and the sharp minds performing them, I am sorry for that suffering. Because as a librarian I value the broad dissemination of knowledge, I accept and even welcome that suffering as the price of progress.