- The Library joined the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). This is a group of North American institutions that have passed open access policies. It is similar to Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), which is primarily a group of European institutions.
- The White House Office on Science and Technology Policy released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public comment on Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications Resulting from Federally Funded Research. Hope College submitted responses by virtue of membership in COAPI (response #308) and the Oberlin Group (response #199)
- Research Works Act (HR 3699) Attacks Open Access. On December 16, 2011 the Research Works Act was introduced by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). The bill contains provisions to prohibit open access mandates for federally funded research and effectively to revert the NIH's Public Access Policy that allows taxpayer-funded research to be freely accessible online. If enacted, it would also severely restrict the sharing of scientific data. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which Issa is the chair.
- The Bill is supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Copyright Alliance. While the Association of American Publishers endorsed the RWA and lobbies for it in the name of its members, a number of AAP members have issued formal statements opposing the bill including: MIT press, Council on Library and Information Resources, Penn State University Press, University of California Press, Nature Publishing Group, the Association for the Advancement of Science, the Modern Language Association, and the American Institute of Physics.
- Elsevier Changes Policy. This year Elsevier made a major change to its publisher agreement, which now prohibits authors affiliated with institutions or agencies that have open access mandates to deposit copies of their articles into an open access repository unless their institution signs a very restrictive agreement with Elsevier. Wiley has adopted a similar policy.
- Boycott Elsevier Movement. On January 21, Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at Cambridge wrote a blog post outlining the reasons for his longstanding boycott of Elsevier. Just days later Tyler Neylon, a fellow mathematician set up “The Cost of Knowledge,” an online pledge to boycott Elsevier. Over 5,000 people have pledged that they will not publish, referee, or do editorial work for Elsevier.
The following articles provide additional information:“The Price of Information: Academics are starting to boycott a big publisher of journals.”
The Economist, February 4, 2012; “Elsevier’s Publishing Model Might Be About to Go Up In Smoke.” Forbes, January 28, 2012; "Mathematicians Organize Boycott of a Publisher." New York Times, February 13, 2012.
- Open Letter Condemning Elsevier. On February 6, 2012, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) sent an open letter to the Chairman of Elsevier condemning Elsevier for its recent business practices and lobbying that undermines open access. COAR represents 80 institutions from 24 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America.
- Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). On February 9, 2012, Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Wyden (D-OR), and Hutchison (R-TX) and Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS), and Clay (D-MO) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act, a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies.
-- Kelly Jacobsma