Last month, several scientific societies signed a letter to President Trump urging him against mandating open-access publication of federally funded research in the United States. Among the signatories of that letter were the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.
Today, the Executive Committee of SIPS has signed a counter-letter arguing in favor of open access. We chose to sign this letter because we see great benefits in open-access publication, which allows researchers and the public greater access to scientific research. Under the current system, publishers use volunteer labor to write, review, and edit articles, but the product of that free labor is sold back to universities and readers at a premium. We need policymakers to understand that open access publication does have advantages and that there are scientists and scientific societies that support it.
We also chose to sign this letter because it emphasizes the importance of sharing scientific findings not just with American taxpayers, who are funders of this work, but with people across the globe. One of the core values of science is universalism, and limiting access to research undercuts the global contribution that can be made by scientific work.
We recognize that there are possible concerns with this purported executive order. Is an executive order the correct way to direct scientific publishing? How long might be required for such a transition? Will open-access article processing charges be more financially reasonable than subscription fees? Still, on balance, we feel the opportunities of open access outweigh the risks.
We had to make this decision quickly and before the letter could be made public. If you want to share your comments or concerns about this decision, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.