N – US open access battle rumbles on

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has warned that US government mandates requiring free access to journal articles published by the private sector would seriously undermine scientific communication, as well as jobs, exports and copyright protection. In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Allan Adler, AAP’s Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs, stressed that efforts to impose mandates were based on lack of understanding of the distinction between the “research” that is funded by the Federal government and the private-sector journal articles that validate and document the process, findings and significance of that research.

“Most of the two to three million manuscripts submitted to publishers each year, including those that result from Federally funded grants, do not meet publishers’ quality standards on the first pass through the peer review process,” Mr Adler said. “Before they can be validated and disseminated as a journal article, manuscripts must be screened, revised per reviewers’ comments, edited and formatted for hosting and preservation on an electronic platform which allows delivery through multiple distribution channels in paper and digital formats — all of which requires substantial investment by the publisher,” he continued. “Publishers invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year in the screening, peer review, editing and production of these journal articles. It is unfair for the government to expropriate these private-sector products without compensation and make them available free.”