On March 29, 2012, at 9:30am, the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a public hearing to examine Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests.
Two pieces of legislation provoked this hearing. In early February House Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Lacy Clay (D-MO) reintroduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. This legislation frames the issue of public access as a taxpayer expectation. The Committee also expects to receive a report in the coming weeks on this issue from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, as directed in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, which addresses U.S. research and development to improve the competitiveness of the United States. This frames public access as either an enabler of research and development or a threat to the competitiveness of US Publishers, in particular scholarly society publishers.
Although the distinguished speakers had only about 5 minutes to summarize their perspective, each was allowed to submit written remarks that become part of the hearing record. Here are the speakers providing testimony and a link to their submitted remarks. I also took the liberty to copy the main remarks of each speaker and use the tag cloud site TagCrowd to create a word visualization of the each speakers 50 most used words (eliminating common words, and a word has to be used a minimum of 5 times). Here is the testimony links (click on the witness name for the PDF of the submitted remarks) and results:
Mr. H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, American Institute of Physics
Mr. Elliot Maxwell, Project Director for the Digital Connections Council, Committee on Economic Development
Dr. Crispin Taylor, Executive Director, American Society of Plant Biologists
Mr. Stuart Shieber, Director, Office for Scholarly Communications, Harvard University
Mr. Scott Plutchak, Director, Lister Hill Library at University of Alabama at Birmingham
What do we see? Every witness except Plutchak mentions journals a great deal. Plutchak’s use of the word communication showed up in his cloud, not for anyone else. Researchers and publishers and public are prominent in everyone’s cloud. FRPAA is only in Plutchak’s. Please comment if you spot other visualized [or not] trends.