Does the AAA Support or Oppose the Research Works Act? @AmericanAnthro
As Richard Poynder has reported, and as has been repeatedly retweeted, MIT Press (a distinguished university press publisher of important books and journals), ITHAKA (the organization behind JSTOR, among other core projects and resources), and Penn State University Press (another distinguished university press) are among the first members of the Association of American Publishers to speak out against the Research Works Act (H.R. 3699), distancing themselves from the pro-H.R. 3699 position taken by the AAP. Scholars, librarians, and public interest advocates concerned with advancing positive reform in scholarly communication work are praising these not-for-profit, public interest publishers for their leadership and for clearly distancing their organizations (and by association their authors and publishing partners) from the Research Works Act. Appreciative of this expression of support for scholarly communication in the public interest and against what is ultimately a bad bill serving private interests at the expense of public ones, I am inclined to support these publishers more vigorously in whatever ways that I can.
As I tweeted after the news of MIT Press’ disavowal circulated yesterday, I wonder which of the scholarly societies belonging to the AAP will demonstrate similar leadership by speaking out against H.R. 3699? As an anthropologist, I would love for the American Anthropological Association to follow the lead of these publishers and disavow the Research Works Act. Given its earlier opposition to the Federal Research Public Access Act (see also this and this), its publishing partnership with Wiley, and its more recent general statements (see also this) questioning open access mandates, I am not expecting such a response, but if there had been a change of position within the Association’s leadership, the current moment provides a perfect, high profile opportunity to express this change of stance and to repair some of the damage done to the association’s reputation in the context of the scholarly communication debates of the past five years.
Put most clearly, does the AAA leadership support or oppose the Research Works Act H.R. 3699? I know that I am not alone in wondering?