Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Publishers Oppose FRPAA? No Way!

When I have some down time at the library reference desk, I like to read the Chronicle of Higher Education so I can keep up with the latest education news. On their ticker today, I came across this story about the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which is legislation that is going up in the House and the Senate that would require the results from federally funded research to be made publicly available within 6 months of publication.

It's not a surprise that the major publishing organizations are against this, but when I read how they were justifying their opposition I couldn't help but laugh. Tom Allen, president of the Association of American Publishers, said “FRPAA is little more than an attempt at intellectual eminent domain, but without fair compensation to authors” (emphasis added). I find it funny that the industry that makes its money largely on the backs of academic authors and their university libraries and often leaves them with little more than prestige to show for their work can complain about someone else providing unfair compensation for authors.

I think it is high time that the research our scholars work so hard to produce is made available to them and their students for a reasonable price. The American Association of Publishers is going to have to come up with a better argument than this one if they want anyone to adopt their position.