RWA Pronounced Dead

The Chronicle of Higher Education pronounced the Research Works Act dead.

In a lightening fast turnaround, the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep Darrell Issa issued a statement:

“As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open-access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future,” the Issa-Maloney statement said. “The American people deserve to have access to research for which they have paid. This conversation needs to continue, and we have come to the conclusion that the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate.”

The related boycott of Elsevier (discussed in earlier posts) may have been instrumental:

Boycott organizers and access advocates celebrated Monday’s news. “I see this as a victory won by popular awareness and support,” Mr. Neylon said in an e-mail.

Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, said the boycott had helped spur Elsevier’s turnabout. “You don’t get almost 8,000 scientists saying ‘We think this is a lousy idea’ so vocally without taking that seriously,” she said.