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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 27, 2012

Is the Research Works Act Dead?

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Posted by Derek

It may well be. This morning comes news that Elsevier has dropped support for the RWA, which makes one think that they're feeling the pressure:

We have heard expressions of support from publishers and scholarly societies for the principle behind the legislation. However, we have also heard from some Elsevier journal authors, editors and reviewers who were concerned that the Act seemed inconsistent with Elsevier’s long-standing support for expanding options for free and low-cost public access to scholarly literature. That was certainly not our intention in supporting it. . .

While we continue to oppose government mandates in this area, Elsevier is withdrawing support for the Research Work Act itself. We hope this will address some of the concerns expressed and help create a less heated and more productive climate for our ongoing discussions with research funders. . .

You can smell the smoke from the brake pads, and hear the reverse gears engaging. Maybe now the American Chemical Society will make a public statement - I haven't heard anything from them yet, although their default position (as a member of the AAP) is to support it. (They supported a previous version of the bill in 2008).

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


1. patentgeek on February 27, 2012 10:32 AM writes...

Perhaps dead for now, but I fear it, like SOPA and others, will lumber forth again. Constant vigilance is the watchword here.

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2. pete on February 27, 2012 11:04 AM writes...

Can't say it's totally dead, but out here on the left coast I can say that I received quite a prompt letter confirming strong opposition from my local US Representative - so it's been on the radar screen as a bad piece of legislation.

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3. Nima on February 27, 2012 1:58 PM writes...

Well considering the timing, I’d like to think that it was my latest blog post that prompted them to do it…. or maybe it was just the straw the broke the serpent’s back.

So far I’m not ready to trust ElSerpiente just yet, but they seem to at least be realizing the damage has been done. That said, regardless of how sorry Elsevier pretends to be, I would like to see scientists abandon it altogether in favor of open-access journals like PLoS ONE and APP, similar to how they abandoned ScienceBlogs when it started becoming an ad agency for Pepsi. Once you lose credibility in academia it’s gone for good, the same should apply to arms-dealing, journal-faking publishers.

One blow, but far from a victory. That still leaves Wiley, Springer, GSW, Taylor and Francis (which now has its fingers in JVP) and several others that have NOT withdrawn support for RWA. And all the misguided scientists that still support these publishing goliaths, whether by subscription or contribution of papers.

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4. daen on February 27, 2012 3:00 PM writes...

You're missing a > in your </i> tag, Derek ...

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5. Curious Wavefunction on February 27, 2012 4:06 PM writes...

seemed inconsistent with Elsevier’s long-standing support for expanding options for free and low-cost public access

Oh, Elsevier! Just when you were about to win our hearts.

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