The Research Works Act, a bill currently being considered by the US Congress, has been roundly disparaged by the research community as an attempt by publishers to make more money by restricting the public's access to research. In the Guardian last week, University of Bristol researcher Mike Taylor said academic publishers have become "the enemies of science," and that the RWA "amounts to a declaration of war by the publishers" against the research community.
Some publishers are taking exception to these claims. Graham Taylor, director of academic, educational, and professional publishing at the UK Publishers Association, says in the Guardian this week that calling publishers the enemies of science is "offensive and wrong." Publishers aren't anti-science or anti-publication, but in reality have made research available to more readers for less money, Taylor says. "Public funds have not paid for the peer-reviewed articles that are based on research supported by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. They have only paid for the research itself and whatever reports the researchers are required to submit to the agency," he says. "The journal article based on the research has been the subject of significant extra investment that must somehow be recovered if scholarly communication as we know it is to survive."