Needed: Scholarly authors’ comments on H.R. 3699, a new bill to block public access to publicly funded research
A new bill, The Research Works Act (H.R.3699), designed to roll back the NIH Public Access Policy and block the development of similar policies at other federal agencies has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. Co-sponsored by Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), it was introduced on December 16, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Essentially, the bill seeks to prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grants to require that articles reporting on publicly funded research be made accessible to the public online. That is, it would prohibit the NIH from requiring deposit of manuscripts about research funded by NIH grants.
The bill text is short and to the point. The main point reads:
“No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that — (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or (2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-sector research work.”
Several editorials and press releases have already appeared on the issue. Here are a few:
- Michael Eisen, PhD, Research Bought, Then Paid For (New York Times)
- Rebecca J. Rosen, Why is Open Internet Champion Darrell Issa Supporting an Attack on Open Science? (The Atlantic)
- ACRL, Stop Making Sense (Library advocacy)
- Why Open Access Matters – articles for background reading from the Public Library of Science
Supporters of public access to the results of publicly funded research need to speak out against this proposed legislation. Contact Congress to express your opposition today, or as soon as possible.
For contact information and details on how to act, see the Alliance for Taxpayer Access Action http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/action/action_access/12-0106.shtml.
Note that 3 Pennsylvania congressmen sit on the relevant committee – if you are a constituent of Pat Meehan (7th District), Todd Platts (19th District), or Mike Kelly (3rd District), your voice may carry more strength.
No Delaware or New Jersey legislators sit on this committee.