Publishers and Social Insecurity

Another public access policy seeks to violate Constitutional and legal protections, while LLMs present existential threats of their own

The 5th Amendment of the US Constitution includes a guarantee that the government cannot seize private property without making a due compensation. These protections were extended to the states with the 14th Amendment. But public access advocates don’t seem to have any respect for US law or the US Constitution’s protections against illegal takings, and appear to be actively undermining these and related Federal laws.

I guess when you’re staging an insurrection, you have to throw legal constraints to the seven winds.

In their public access response to the Nelson Memorandum, the Social Security Administration goes further even than the National Science Foundation (NSF) policy submission. As you might recall, the NSF policy had two requirements which hit on the idea of the government taking private property without due compensation:

That all peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from NSF-funded research will be made freely available and publicly accessible by default in the NSF Public Access Repository, or NSF-PAR, without embargo or delay.
That persistent identifiers, or PIDs, and other critical metadata associated with peer-reviewed publications and data resulting from NSF-funded research will be collected and made publicly available in NSF-PAR.  

Now, the Social Security Administration has gone one step further in regard to articles and also with — I mean, this is just bonkers — rights themselves. The two salient statements read (I bolded some words):

All scientific research publications and scientific research data resulting from our federally funded research will be our property with unlimited rights to reuse, reproduce, and make available at any physical, digital, or online location accessible to the public.
We may require unlimited rights licenses to use, modify, reproduce, release, or disclose research data in whole or in part, in any manner, and for any purpose whatsoever, and may authorize others to do the same, depending on the facts and circumstances of the award.

In essence, the Social Security Administration is saying that it can take private property — scientific research publications and data produced by private entities and citizens — with no limits on its rights to reuse, reproduce, distribute these things, even to the public.

Money is power here, rights be damned.