The Chronicle of Higher Education pronounced the Research Works Act dead.
In a lightening fast turnaround, the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep Darrell Issa issued a statement:
“As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open-access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future,” the Issa-Maloney statement said. “The American people deserve to have access to research for which they have paid. This conversation needs to continue, and we have come to the conclusion that the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate.”
The related boycott of Elsevier (discussed in earlier posts) may have been instrumental:
Boycott organizers and access advocates celebrated Monday’s news. “I see this as a victory won by popular awareness and support,” Mr. Neylon said in an e-mail.
Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, said the boycott had helped spur Elsevier’s turnabout. “You don’t get almost 8,000 scientists saying ‘We think this is a lousy idea’ so vocally without taking that seriously,” she said.
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) today introduced bipartisan legislation that directs federal agencies to encourage open public access to federally funded scientific research.
“Americans have the right to see the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars,” Congressman Doyle said in introducing the Federal Research Public Access Act. “Yet such research too often gets locked away behind a pay-wall, forcing those who want to learn from it to pay expensive subscription fees for access.”
“The Federal Research Public Access Act will encourage broader collaboration among scholars in the scientific community by permitting widespread dissemination of research findings. Promoting greater collaboration will inevitably lead to more innovative research outcomes and more effective solutions in the fields of biomedicine, energy, education, and health care.”
The Federal Research Public Access Act would require federal agencies with an extramural research budget of $100 million or more to make federally-funded research available for free online access by the general public, no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
The Research Works Act is a new bill introduced in Congress on December 16. It attempts to repeal the requirement that NIH funded research be published in the open access PubMed Central — and to block other agencies from being required to do the same.
Peter Suber has an informative post here — and the follow-on comments provide even more information.
The American Association of Publishers has a press release supporting the bill.
This is particularly interesting in light of the recent White House request for information on Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications Resulting From Federally Funded Research.
Boston College Libraries submitted a response to the RFI. Please contact Jane Morris, Scholarly Communication Librarian, if you would like a copy. jane[dot]morris[at]bc[dot]edu