[Open-access] [open-science] Open Science Anthology published

Heather Morrison Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca
Mon Jan 27 15:00:55 UTC 2014

Taxpayer access is a strong argument for open access but subject to this particular counter-argument.

To counter the counter-arguments it is important to speak to the indirect as well as the direct benefits of open access to taxpayer research. Direct benefits are when the taxpayer can read the results of the research themselves (subject to nationalist arguments).

Indirect benefits include advancing the research. Examples:

If a foreign researcher can contribute towards the cure or treatment for cancer we're supporting through our tax dollars, this gets us to our goal faster (speeds the research) and is financially beneficial (others contribute to pay for what we want).

If another country is able to stop a communicable disease within their borders because we have shared our knowledge with them, they benefit, but so do we - this lowers the odds that we will have to deal with the disease.

If anyone, anywhere, can figure how ways to achieve cheap, clean energy sources, and shares their knowledge with all, everyone benefits.


Dr. Heather Morrison
Assistant Professor
École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa
613-562-5800 ext. 7634
Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca<mailto:Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca>

On 2014-01-27, at 9:47 AM, Mike Taylor <mike at indexdata.com<mailto:mike at indexdata.com>>

Actually, Kent Anderson feels very strongly that he should be allowed
to keep printing money by paywalling the work of others. Everything
else he says follows from that.

-- Mike.

On 27 January 2014 14:34, Katie Foxall <katie at ecancer.org<mailto:katie at ecancer.org>> wrote:
I've been following this with interest and just wanted to draw your
attention to a debate I had with Kent Anderson at the Scholarly Kitchen (see
towards the end of the comments) - he feels very strongly that American
taxpayers should not be paying for other countries to have access to
research (specifically through PMC in this case).  I have come up against
this kind of thinking from traditional publishers again and again.

-----Original Message-----
From: open-access [mailto:open-access-bounces at lists.okfn.org<mailto:access-bounces at lists.okfn.org>] On Behalf Of
Bjoern Brembs
Sent: 27 January 2014 12:41
To: Heather Morrison
Cc: open-access at lists.okfn.org<mailto:open-access at lists.okfn.org>; open-science at lists.okfn.org<mailto:open-science at lists.okfn.org>; Emanuil Tolev
Subject: Re: [Open-access] [open-science] Open Science Anthology published

On Sunday, January 26, 2014, 10:30:41 PM, you wrote:

1.      If the work of scholars is not their work, but

rather the taxpayers' work, then scholars have no rights to grant

copyright to publishers, period, no rights to obtain patents or to

work with commercial companies or universities to help them to achieve

patents. I think a good argument could be made that this is how things

should work, but in reality this is not how the system works now.

FYI, this would be an argument AGAINST CC-BY, as CC licenses are a

partial waiver of copyright, and from this perspective scholars have

no copyright to grant. If you would like to advocate for this position

I very much encourage you to do so!

It's actually quite close to my perspective, as I do take issue with
university-applied patents and 'spin-off' companies by (public) university
scholars, etc.

Thus, I try to make all my research CC0 or CC BY or public domain and argue
that this is what all people in similar positions should do.

2.      If the work of scholars is 100% paid for by

taxpayers where you work and live, what an excellent model

- please write about how this works!

That's how it is here. The state pays my university which pays my salary,
that of my technician and that of my postdoc, plus a yearly budget which (in
my rather special case) covers almost my entire research budget, if the two
people I mentioned remained by sole co-workers.

The model (which is slowly becoming outdated as research becomes more
expensive) is that state universities cover all baseline aspects of research
and teaching, while the federal government only pays for the extra-ordinary
research projects for which one needs grants.

In my case, there is only public money involved, from beginning to end.
Student tuitions existed here only a for a few years, went 100% into
teaching and were abolished last year. Private donations happen essentially
only at institutions with corporate interests such as technical universities
or in fields such as economics or some such.

>From an international perspective, perhaps this makes my case special, I
don't know, but at least for most of Europe and the US (public universities)
in my field of research, I get the impression it's at least very similar.

For example, would you propose that taxpayers should claim copyright?

To combat abuse by whom? Tax-evaders? Maybe :-) Aliens? I don't know if
copyright should be our top priority in this case :-)

Seriously, though, I've seen the issue mentioned of tax-payers from one
country protecting their investment against tax-payers from other countries.
This is something that the current mantra of "the tax payer paid for it, so
the tax payer should be able to access and re-use it" would, IMHO, cover.
One country could, in principle, make all their research OA only for that
country (more tricky in practice, obviously).

Clearly, this sort of "knowledge protectionism" is a perspective we should
try and prevent.

However, I don't really have a good idea on how to defend "let's give away
the research we paid for to those who didn't pay" against politicians who
already begrudge poor people their social security.

What this means is that a very large percentage of research is

conducted without taxpayer funding.

As with all research that is not tax payer funded, the open access rationale
doesn't apply - it applies the rationale of either the scholar, if they are
self-funded, or of the entity paying the scholar.

I don't think anybody ever proposed making something public by default which
wasn't public to begin with?

5.      Research often involves other parties besides

funders and researchers. An argument can be made that research on

First Nations groups properly belongs to them (in Canada, some of our

First Nations groups do make such claims). Businesses, medical

subjects, organizations that help to facilitate the research - many

people participate in research projects. This illustrates an issue

with the "funder copyright" scenario - if rich people are able to fund

research conducted on poor people does this mean that rich people

should own the results? I would argue no, that others who have

contributed to works have rights as well.

I don't think issues such as these are relevant for this discussion, as
human rights always trump *any* form of license or copyright (at least for
me as a non-lawyer), i.e., whatever license were ever established as a
"default", there would always be larger reasons (e.g., privacy, your
examples, or biological safety, etc.) which necessitate exceptions.

For instance, I'm not sure I would favor a CC BY license for a paper which
happened to describe the construction of an H-bomb with household
ingredients, but I wouldn't find this particular example an obstacle to OA
in general.

All the best,



Björn Brembs




Universität Regensburg



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