Publishers say you already have all of the access you need

Here's a quote from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of
American Publishers' response
(pdf) to the FRPAA legislation (about):

There is no need for federal agencies to replicate content on their own sites when web-linking approaches to publishers' authoritative versions could serve better the same goal of public access. Acting on its own in the free market, the publishing industry already has made more research information available to more people than at any time in history. Articles are widely available in major academic centers and private-sector online databases, as well as through public libraries, state universities and interlibrary loan programs. Many professional, academic and business organizations also provide professionals with access to the research literature.

But you tell us you don't.

Via Stevan Harnad

The Research Information Network's 2009 study "Overcoming Barriers: Access to Research Information Content" link goes to some lengths to show that the access problem is not "small."

Some excerpts:
Of the 800 respondents, over 40% said that they were unable readily to access licensed content at least weekly; and two-thirds at least monthly. The key reasons for failing to secure access were perceived to be [...] that the library had not purchased a license for the content, because of budgetary constraints (56%). Around 59 per cent of respondents thought that non-availability of content does have some impact on their research, while 18 per cent say the impact is 'significant' either in terms of timing and/or comprehensiveness and/or other quality impact.

Tell your representatives who's right.

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And that's just the researchers at large research institutions in the First World...don't get me started on people in smaller institutions, high school teachers, physicians in non-university-based hospitals, people in developing countries, students, journalists....nobody but an elite few in an elite few institutions have any access.

Yep. That's why their statements are SOOOO outrageous! Public libraries won't pay to interlibrary loan expensive sci-tech research articles and members of the public can't use university interlibrary loan services.

Acting on its own in the free market, the publishing industry already has made more research information available to more people than at any time in history.

This statement is technically true but misleading. Yes, it's easier for me to get content from a journal that my MRU's library has subscribed to . But every January there is a glitch which temporarily prevents me from accessing content my library has paid for. Furthermore, my MRU can't afford to subscribe to everything relevant to my field, which means that contents of some of those journals are forever hidden to me. (Round up the usual suspects here; they are the same in physics as they are in biomedical fields.) Were I not affiliated with an MRU, most of the content that I now can get would also be invisible to me.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 17 May 2010 #permalink

The linked PDF comes up blank for me, except for the letterhead. I guess the AAP doesn't realize that if fonts aren't embedded in the PDF, some people aren't going to be able to read it. Which seems like some kind of meta-commentary on their position on open access...

The ACM is not in favor of open access, but they at least make authors embed fonts in their PDFs.

According to Sherpa/Romeo (, the ACM allows for green OA articles.

Author's Preâprint: author can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing)
Author's Postâprint: author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing)

By Joe Kraus (not verified) on 24 May 2010 #permalink