Open Access Medical Research

Amanda Schaffer of Slate writes about the  Public Library of Science, "an advocacy organization dedicated to promoting open access" to medical research.

To the consternation of journal publishers—many of them not-for-profit
associations that rely heavily on journal subscription fees for their
revenue—the National Institutes of Health has thrown its considerable
weight behind the notion of free access to biomedical research. In
September, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni proposed that all NIH-funded
scientists provide full-text copies of their research papers to PubMed Central,
an online government archive, once these papers have been accepted (and
thus vetted) by peer-reviewed journals; PubMed Central would then post
the work, citing both the author and the journal where it first
appeared, six months after publication. (The original plan called for
immediate access but was mitigated in response to publishers’ outcry.)
The initiative is expected to cost roughly $2 million to $4 million per
year, a small fraction of the NIH’s total budget. As the NIH considers
final guidelines, a vitriolic debate has erupted in the scientific
community: How best to balance the needs of journal publishers against
those of scientists, students, and members of the general public who
would benefit from unfettered access?

Timothy Noah, also writing for Slate, celebrates for "discovering" Amazon’s customer service number.


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