Champions of open access to publicly funded academic research had something to celebrate last week. Creative Commons is reporting (with just a touch of cautious optimism) the progress of California's Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB 609, for short), which has successfully moved through the State's Assembly Appropriations Committee and is ready for a vote. If passed, the bill—which requires the final copy of any peer-reviewed research funded by California tax dollars to be made publicly accessible within 12 months of publication—will become a matter for the California State Senate (see the Public Library of Science blog and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for more detail).
This could very well become the first state-level bill to mandate open access to publicly funded academic research.
For years, open access publishing has been a hot topic on opensource.com. To understand why this issue is important to so many people, you might consider reading:
- This 2010 piece by Peter Suber, which beautifully explains the benefits of open access publishing
- A piece I wrote in May 2012, which surveys some high-profile protests over traditional academic publishing practices
- Marcus D. Hanwell's personal account of the closed-access publishing process
- Doctoral student Alex Leavitt's public declaration of committment to open access following the January death of Aaron Swartz
- Luis Ibanez's recap of the White House's response to a public petition demanding open access
Let's chat as we await the verdict on AB 609. Could this be a watershed moment for academic open access? What would it mean for academic publishing as we know it today?