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Open letter to Cambridge University Press requesting repudiation of H.R.3699 and Research Works Act

[I have sent the following letter to press@cambridge.org. If anyone knows better addresses for the addressees, please could you forward it. You might also wish to add messages of your own]

Dear Stephen Bourne,
Dear Andrew Brown,

I am a member of Cambridge University (Reader Emeritus, Chemistry and past Senior Research Fellow, Churchill) and write to urge CUP to repudiate H.R.3699 and the Research Works Act promoted by the American Association of Publishers of which CUP is a member.

The AAP has proposed a bill which effectively legislates the restriction of access to scholarly publication with the sole intention of raising the income of publishers. I and many others feel this is unethical, immoral and unworthy of any organisation committed to the dissemination of knowledge. Some commentators have described it as an act of war by the publishing industry on the scholarly community. Balanced and factual accounts are given by Richard Poynder (http://poynder.blogspot.com/2012/01/mit-press-distances-itself-from.html and related posts in his blog).

Already academic publishers are distancing themselves from this Act. MIT Press (link above) has stated:

“The AAP’s press release on the Research Works Act does not reflect the position of the MIT Press; nor, I imagine, the position of many other scholarly presses whose mission is centrally focused on broad dissemination.


I can see every reason why CUP should issue a similar, or even stronger, message repudiating the AAP’s position. I hope that you can assure me CUP was not involved in creating the AAP’s position and ask you to consider the downsides of belonging to an organisation such as AAP.

[This is not the first time that the publishing industry has created anti-scholarship initiatives - I wrote to you about the iniquity of the "PRISM" alliance in 2007. I doubt it will be the last.]

Yours [Peter Murray-Rust]

[PS. I do not have personal email addresses and assume that "press" will reroute this mail. In any case I have a heavily followed blog and will post this letter there - maybe someone at CUP will forward it if required].


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