This briefing paper, written by CPIP Legal Fellow, Bhamati Viswanathan, and CPIP Director of Academic Programs & Senior Scholar, Adam Mossoff, exposes the lack of evidence or justification for the proliferating legal mandates by federal agencies that coerce authors and publishers to make their scholarly articles available for free to the world.
The authors identify four reasons why open-access mandates are a prime example of regulatory overreach, and they further explain why there is nothing objectionable in either copyright policy or in economic theory when authors or publishers voluntarily choose this publishing model. The four basic problems with regulatory mandates of the open-access publishing model are:
- Open-access mandates undercut publishers’ ability to invest in producing and distributing copyrighted works.
- Open-access mandates contradict basic principles of copyright law.
- Open-access mandates are the classic example of a solution in search of a problem: there is no evidence of a systemic market failure in scholarly publishing requiring a massive regulatory intervention.
- Open-access mandates are based on untenable economic models.