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Call to Action: Oppose H.R. 3699, a new bill to block public access to publicly funded research

Published Jan 12, 2012, 2:03pm

A new anti-Public Access bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) that would undo and effectively ban NIH-style public access policies.

From the SPARC Call to Action:

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. 

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."

This bill would erase years of progress from the NIH policy – which makes 90,000 papers per year freely available through PubMed Central – and prohibit students and taxpayers from having guaranteed access to research they paid for in the first place.

We strongly encourage students to contact Representatives Issa and Maloney as well as other members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to express their concern over the Research Works Act.  Students should also contact their individual representatives to voice their opposition to the Research Works Act and support for NIH-style public access policies.

For more information, including a form to contact your representatives directly and a template letter opposing H.R. 3699, visit the Right to Research Coalition Action Center.

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