03 March 2009

Open access on the line: H.R.801

A bill presently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee would end the National Institutes of Health open access policy - which requires NIH-funded research to be made freely available to the public 12 months after publication - and ban other federal funding agencies from enacting similar measures.

This is, of course, primarily for the benefit of scientific publishers, who rely on subscription and online access fees as a major source of income. But it means that taxpayer-funded research would be inaccessible to members of the public who don't benefit from institutional subscriptions. How we fund scientific publishing in the Internet Age is a tricky question - but legal fiat is not a good way to negotiate that question. Contact your representatives, and tell them to vote "no" on H.R. 801.

Via OpenCongress. See also coverage on Greg Laden's blog.

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