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A bill to make federal research available online

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) is trying to make research papers available to the public through a bill he introduced last week that would require agencies to give online access to publications.

The bill, called the Federal Research Public Access Act (H.R. 5037), was announced last Thursday would require federal agencies with annual research budgets of $100 million or more – which includes the Federal Communications Commission – to provide, no later than six months after release, access to federally funded research studies.

"This bill will give the American people greater access to the important scientific research results they’ve paid for,” Doyle said today. “It is a policy that recognizes the new opportunities inherent in the digital environment, and it will accelerate scientific discovery and innovation and enable Americans to realize a significant return on our national investment in science.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, co-sponsored the bill.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 19, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
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The open access program at the NIH has been a very successful program, making the latest in medical and biological research open to the public (who pay for it!). Increasingly scientific research requires programs have open access to the literature to pull in data. Some of this is done by computer searches and data management. more importantly, the open access movement has SIGNIFICANTLY increased the speed of publication as old line journals have to compete with new open source journals. Ultimately taxpayers pay for the research and should have access to primary results, especially students.. It is particularly hard for small biotech companies to gain access to critical scientific results under old system.
Expect some push back from some publishing firms..under the rubric of "publishing rights"

jd Kittle, Chairman of the Synthetic Biology Industry Association

Posted by: jkittle | April 20, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Sens. Lieberman and Cornyn have tried similar legislation in the past. I suspect rather strongly that at the moment it's going to get stuck in committee unless it gets more mainstream media coverage (and I think the current brouhaha up on the Hill is over something else -- financial reform, maybe?).

If on the other hand this does go through, Sci/Tech/Med publishers are going to have to look at their business models and see how else they are going to monetize what they do to keep their heads above water (editing/peer review/etc. don't come cheap). Right now, their money comes from keeping the info under their shroud of a subscription model (or an a la carte model, but you're still paying for it) for a while, if not indefinitely. Given the recent pushback over health care, I somehow doubt that "X% of government research grant money must go to the publishers who mass-distribute the work" will go over too well on any side...publishers because they'll want more money for their efforts and researchers because it will probably decrease the number and monetary value of government grants available.

Posted by: | April 20, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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