Editor’s Choice: Openness as Tool for Acceleration and Measurement: Reflections on Problem Representations Underpinning Open Access and Open Science

Editor’s Choice: Haider, J. (2017). Openness as Tool for Acceleration and Measurement: Reflections on Problem Representations Underpinning Open Access and Open Science. In U. Herb, & J. Schöpfel (Eds.), Open Divide?:
Critical Studies on Open Access. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books. Source: Openness as Tool for Acceleration and Measurement: Reflections on Problem Representations Underpinning Open Access and Open Science

Abstract: Open access has established itself as an issue that researchers, universities, and various infrastructure providers, such as libraries and academic publishers, have to relate to. Commonly policies requiring open access are framed as expanding access to information and hence as being part of a democratization of society and knowledge production processes. However, there are also other aspects that are part of the way in which open access is commonly imagined in the various policy documents, declarations, and institutional demands that often go unnoticed. This essay wants to foreground some of these issues by asking the overarching question: “If open access and open science are the solutions, then what is the problem they are meant to solve?” The essay discusses how demands to open up access to research align also with processes of control and evaluation and are often grounded in ideas of economic growth as constant acceleration.

In this chapter, Haider argues that the open access rhetoric adopted by policymakers frames open access as “a business model for managing relations between public funders and private enterprise.”  This framing of the issue has helped to accelerate the privatization of open access.  Additionally, the emphasis on policy makers and publishers has downplayed the role of researchers and librarians.

And a Very Happy New Year to You, Congress!

This isn’t breaking news (sometimes we at the Open Access @ CUNY blog go on vacation, and sometimes we even go on vacation where there’s no internet, and, gasp, sometimes things happen when we have no internet!), but it’s still making me break a huge smile:

Congress passed open access legislation!
(This is a major expansion of the NIH’s well-known policy!)

Both the House and the Senate approved the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes many provisions in its 1582 (!) pages. The provision we at Open Access @ CUNY care about is Section 527, which appears on page 1020:

Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;

(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication;

and (3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a similar directive last February, but as we examined, the directive did not make legislation unnecessary. As Peter Suber wrote, “we need legislation to codify federal OA policies. The next president could rescind today’s White House directive, but could not rescind legislation.”

And now we have legislation!!!  (Read more about it at the Washington Post.)

Many details need to be worked out, of course, but the passage of this provision is an excellent reason to put your New Year’s Eve noisemakers to good use one last time this month.

party horn
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/9076289197/



Open Argentina

Here in the United States, open access advocates are struggling mightily to make the case that taxpayers are entitled to the research their taxes fund — and that open access is good for innovation, industry (well, except possibly the high-profit publishing industry…), and the world of ideas.  Basically, it’s a deathmatch between the public and publishers, which have so far succeeded in sowing enough confusion to kill FRPAA in Congress and Senate and TAPFR in New York State.

(But all is not lost. FRPAA’s been revived as FASTR; there’s hope for TAPFR moving forward; and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum instructing all federal agencies with research and development expenditures over $100 million to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research freely available within 12 months of publication.)

Meanwhile, progress is swifter and less controversial elsewhere. For example, on Wednesday Argentina’s Senate unanimously passed a law that requires all publicly-funded research to be made open access within six months of publication.  My Spanish isn’t so hot, but this is a very exciting paragraph indeed (key phrases bolded):

Los investigadores, tecnólogos, docentes, becarios de posdoctorado y estudiantes de maestría y doctorado cuya actividad de investigación sea financiada con fondos públicos, deberán depositar o autorizar expresamente el depósito de una copia de la versión final de su producción científico-tecnológica publicada o aceptada para publicación y/o que haya atravesado un proceso de aprobación por una autoridad competente o con jurisdicción en la materia, en los repositorios digitales de acceso abierto de sus instituciones, en un plazo no mayor a los seis (6) meses desde la fecha de su publicación oficial o de su aprobación.

May we follow suit.