ASAE Opposes White House Research Access Policy

In a letter to the White House, ASAE is asking the Trump administration to reconsider a proposed executive order that that would negatively affect the ability of many scientific societies to continue to publish scientific journals.

On January 16, ASAE sent a letter [PDF] to the White House urging the administration to reconsider a proposed executive order that would jeopardize the intellectual property of scientific, engineering, and technical societies.

The proposed policy issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) would mandate the immediate, free publication of federally funded research, eliminating the ability of scientific and technical journals to charge for access to articles to recoup investments made in peer review, curation, and conducting quality control.

Under current policy, associations that publish scientific and technical journals make publicly funded research available within one year of publication. Many journals permit members of their professional society to have instant access to scientific articles to ensure other researchers can review research findings. But net revenue from subscription fees to journals supports the peer review process, as well as other vital association activities including education, outreach, and membership services.

“A change of this nature would be devastating to the development and dissemination of scientific and technical information as it could endanger the sustainability of many journals, closing off respected avenues for scientists who receive federal funding to share the results of their research with other members of the profession and the public,” ASAE said in its letter. “Rather than speeding and strengthening the flow of scientific knowledge, the proposed change would instead reduce the publications available to disseminate that research and would impair the quality of research findings by closing doors to the peer review process.”

In December, more than 125 scientific research and publishing organizations also co-signed a separate letter condemning the proposed executive order.

“Undermining the marketplace is unnecessary, counterproductive, and would significantly harm the system of peer-reviewed scholarly communication that fuels America’s leadership in research and innovation,” stated the coalition’s letter [PDF].

Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

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