Behind the Research Works Act: Which U.S. Representatives are Receiving Cash from Reed Elsevier?
A bill (H.R. 3699) recently introduced in the U.S. Congress by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) aims to undo open access policies at NIH and to prevent the establishment of open access policies in other federal agencies. The large publishers, as represented by The Association of American Publishers, has expressed its love for this innocuously named “Research Works Act.” Open access advocates understand it as another terrible assault on the public interest and as instrument designed to not only mislead those who do not understand how scholarly research and its communication work but to more intensively transfer public resources into private, corporate hands. I am not going to offer an analysis of the bill and its contexts here.
In this note, I just want to highlight University of California Biologist Michael Eisen’s posting about the Research Works Act. After contextualizing and characterizing H.R. 3699, he points his readers to political contribution data available via MapLight. Looking into which members of Congress have received contributions from the large, multinational scholarly publisher Read Elsevier, Eisen notes that the largest recipient of Elsevier cash is Rep. Maloney (co-sponsor of H.R. 3699). He notes:
Dutch publisher Elsevier and its senior executives made 31 contributions to members of the House in 2011, of which 12 went to Representative Maloney. This includes contributions from 11 senior executives or partners, only one of whom is a resident of her district.
Who else is on the Elsevier donation list? Any guesses? Yes, of course, Rep. Issa. (For the full list of Elsevier recipients, see here.)
Thank you to Professor Eisen for his work digging into this question.