Friday, March 6, 2009

Conyers response to Lessig

Yesterday, I received in my inbox a note from Lawrence Lessig about a proposal that John Conyers is trying to push through, one that will forbid scientists receiving government funds to openly publish their findings online, but rather force them to have to pay thousands of their own non-government dollars to publish in peer-review journals. Lessig also posted this article on HuffPo on the very same matter.

Conyers responded to Lessig at HuffPo as well, but I fail to see how I can side with Conyers on this one. I am all for peer review of science research findings, because peer review helps keep science honest. But publications and journals are not - and definitely should not - be the only means of peer review. There are innumerable instances of non-published peer review of research and findings, most of which may not have ever been possible if the scientists were forced to wait for review by the publications. Furthermore, the resource pool of the publications is large, but it cannot compare to the broader access in academia and the professional world.

My earlier post referenced an article by a science journalist with Discover magazine, and his points remain unaddressed by Conyers's rebuttal. But Conyers is right in that this is worthy of debate, but until Lessig called him out, there is no evidence that a debate was even going to happen.


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