Do you remember the RWA? It was a no-brainer already back then that the 40k that Elsevier spent was well-invested: for months, Open Access activists were busy derailing this legislation, leading a virtual standstill on all other fronts. now, just over two years later, two Republican representatives introduced the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act. According to SPARC:

This provision would impose significant barriers to the public’s ability to access the results of taxpayer-funded research.  Section 303 of the bill would undercut the ability of federal agencies to effectively implement the widely supported White House Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research and undermine the successful public access program pioneered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – recently expanded through the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act to include the Departments Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

The two sponsors of the Bill are Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN). Not surprisingly, both sponsors are backed up by publisher funding: Lamar Smith receives annual contributions from Elsevier and other publishers. Both sponsors received contributions from a large number of scholarly (primarily medical) associations that also publish their own subscription journals. Some of these contributions were on the order of several tens of thousands of dollars. Among these scholarly societies were:

Society Journal(s) published by
American Medical Association JAMA network AMA
American Society of Anesthesiologists Anesthesiology Wolters Kluwer
College of American Pathologists Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Allen Press
American College of Radiology Journal of the American College of Radiology Elsevier
Society of Thoracic Surgeons Annals of Thoracic Surgery Elsevier
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery

Orthopaedic Knowledge Online Journal

Highwire Press

Kent R. Anderson


Of course, nobody knows how much influence their contributions bought these contributors, but this short list already reads like a who’s who of corporate publishers with a track record of lobbying against public access to public research. One cannot exclude that it is a pure coincidence that these two politicians with a track record of publisher contributions are now drafting a publisher-friendly legislation – and thereby doing the public a disservice.

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Posted on  at 23:21