Weltwirtschaftskrise zwingt zu Open Access

Peter Suber weist im aktuellen SOAN Newsletter auf die veränderten Rahmenbedingungen für Open Acess hin. Durch die Weltwirtschaftskrise ist es noch viel wichtiger, dass wir alle ökonomischen Anreize nutzen und OA ist einer (der Wichtigsten) davon.

The US, and the world, are now in profound economic collapse. The economic crisis changes the landscape for the Conyers bill [Gesetz gegen die Open Access-Pflicht von NIH-Forschern] because it strengthens the case for OA, especially OA for publicly-funded research. Both the NSF and NIH received extra funds –$3 billion and $10.4 billion respectively– under the economic stimulus package President Obama signed on February 17. While the new funds will support precious new research, the economic crisis heightens our responsibility to maximize the *return* on that investment as well. That’s where OA comes in. It maximizes the return on our research investment by maximizing the reach and usefulness of research. Moreover, as John Houghton’s many studies have shown, that OA is itself a profound economic stimulus, within and well beyond the research sector itself. Conducting more research is only one way to amplify the benefits of research. The other way, even more affordable than the first and even more compelling in hard times, is to ensure that the research we do conduct reaches all who could make use of it. If you’re reading this, you’re probably very familiar with the background reasons to support OA for publicly-funded research, in good times or bad. But there are also special reasons to push harder in hard times. These special reasons to beyond the responsibility to maximize the return on our investment and beyond the economic activity OA stimulates.

As library budgets shrink, toll access is harder to afford, even if prices remain steady. If it weren’t for OA, access to research would decline apace. Throw in rising journal prices and we face damaging access cuts even greater than the damaging budget cuts. Loss of access harms researchers first, but it also harms all of us who depend on research –for everything from better batteries, monitors, and processors to health care, green energy, and public safety.

In short, the Conyers bill does more harm the deeper we slide into recession. Members of Congress serious about science and serious about economic recovery –admittedly not the full membership– will take that into account. The message from voters to the Judiciary Committee should be: In any other year we could quarrel about whether to make government science agencies serve publishers before they serve the public. But this year think about the economy. This is not the year to make US taxpayers pay a second fee for access to the research they’ve already funded. This is not the year to make publicly-funded research less accessible and less useful. This is not the year to slow down medical research, reduce the benefits of research, and reduce the economic activity stimulated by research. [Fettdruck durch mich]