There's been lots of news around and about the scholarly publishing industry lately. I've provided some background on the Elsevier boycott as well as why Wikipedia and other sites went dark on 1/18/12. Things continue to happen and it's time for an update.
One of the reasons many academics decided to boycott Elsevier was Elsevier's support for the Research Works Act (RWA). The RWA was an effort to stop the US government from mandating that scholarly journals articles - supported by taxpayer money - be made freely available to the public. Johns Hopkins University signed a letter from the Association of Research Libraries opposing RWA.
Well, everything changed on 2/27/12. First, the wonderful people at SPARC shared the news that Elsevier had withdrawn their support for the Research Works Act. Elsevier also posted an open letter to mathematicians that addressed some of the researchers' concerns about the publisher. In the afternoon, I found out that the sponsors of the RWA announced they won't take any action on RWA.
What does this mean? It means that the Research Works Act is dead and the NIH public access policy will continue. It also means that Elsevier pays attention to the scholarly community. It doesn't mean that the boycott will end.
What should I do? Read more about this. Below are only a few blog posts and news stories about this latest development. You can also talk with your librarian; we understand the publishing world and would be happy to talk with you about this.
- Legislation to Bar Public-Access Requirement on Federal Research is Dead by Jennifer Howard in The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Scholarly Communications: A Major Flinch by Steve Kolowich in Inside Higher Ed
- An Extraordinary Week by Kevin Smith at Scholarly Communications@Duke
- Elsevier Abandons Anti-Open Access Bill by Bob Grant in The Scientist
- Gulf on Open Access to Federally Financed Research by Guy Gugliotta in the New York Times
- Scientists' Victory Over the Research Works Act is Like the the SOPA Defeat by Konstantin Kakaes in Slate.