New bill will limit access to research


Amidst the flurry of anti-consumer bills flooding the US Congress, is a new, more nefarious threat to patients and researchers everywhere. The Research Works Act, proposed by Representatives Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. would prohibit NIH from requiring NIH/taxpayer-funded scientists from publishing their work on the NIH funded, open source, publicly available search engine called PubMed Central. Instead, the new bill, HR3699 would allow publishing companies to claim copyrights and charge $15-$35 per document so that the general public has limited access to the research.

Mind you, scientific research is paid for by the government through NIH/NSF and other granting agencies, conducted by faculty at government-, usually state-funded, academic institutions, submitted freely to publishing companies, reviewed for free by other scientists, and only then published and distributed by the publishing company. These publishers then charge university libraries enormous subscription fees so those same Universities whose faculty conducted the research and provided the content for these publications in the first place can have access to these journals. Just to make sure they’ve taken advantage of every revenue stream, the publishing companies now want to limit patient/public access to lifesaving research, by charging them access and document fees as well.  And did we mention, this is taxpayer funded research. It’s quite a business model.

Lucine believes in open research and open data policies. The Research Works Acts is neither and should be opposed.

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  1. The debate heats up, Elsevier replies to the protest with a flimsy argument about investment in search engine capabilities; flimsy b/c there are so many other better, free search engines in this space (; to name but two). The arguments reflect the last fits of an old monopoly. And it’s not just Elsevier, it’s the way academic publishing is done. Things are changing.

    Read the rebuttal and tell us where you stand.

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