Library Link: “Research Bought, Then Paid For”

| January 13, 2012

Michael B. Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at UC Berkeley and co-founder of the Public Library of Science, recently wrote this opinion piece for the New York Times.

In his op-ed, Eisen argues that the Research Works Act, a bill introduced in Congress last month, unjustly double-dips into taxpayer’s pockets. Should the bill become law, it would stop the NIH from openly providing the results of publicly-funded research to the public via the National Library of Medicine’s website. Instead, we would be required to pay for access to individual articles. Eisen points out that this would benefit the journals who manage the publication of research to the detriment of the public and researchers, who both have interests in open access to this information.

As one of many instances of a push toward open-access publication among researchers across disciplines over the past several years, this article is representative of a trend of increasingly strong relevance for librarians, scholars, and publishers alike. Keep an eye on open access; it may just be the future of scholarly communication.