Friday, March 6, 2009

Is Conyers bought and paid for?

For all the (sort of) good he's been doing pursuing egregious and corrupt acts by the Bushies, he's got a few of his own that are down right disgusting. This is one of the newest that's been picking up lots of buzz on the Internets:

John Conyers (D-MI) [...] is pushing a bill through Congress that will literally ban the open access of these papers, forcing scientists to only publish in journals. This may not sound like a big deal, but journals are very expensive. They can cost a fortune: The Astrophysical Journal costs over $2000/year, and they charge scientists to publish in them! So this bill would force scientists to spend money to publish, and force you to spend money to read them.

Why would Conyers do this? Interestingly, if you look at the bill sponsors, you find that they received twice as much money on average in donations from journal publishers than Congresscritters who don’t sponsor the bill — though to be fair, the total amount is not large. Still, Conyers got 4 times as much.


Ironically, this bill is called The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, which is much like the Clean Air Clear Skies Act or the Patriot Act, in that it does exactly the opposite of what its name says. This bill is not fair, it puts a burden on scientists and keeps research from being publicly accessible as it should be. I myself rely on things like Astro-ph to do my reporting here; it could become illegal to post papers there for federally-sponsored scientists if this bill is passed.

The brother is going to have to knock off this kind of crap before some of us science-loving populists decide he needs to be brought up on corruption charges of his own.

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