The Great Public Access Debate Continues

On Dec 16th, Rep. Darrell Issa introduced legislation (H.R. 3699) that would end the experiment in public access that has been ongoing at the NIH since implementing PL 110-161 (<a href="” target=”_blank”>Jan 11, 2008 NIH Guide notice). Essentially, the NIH policy in place requires that publications flowing from research funded by the NIH be publicly available within 12 months of their publication date.

Rep Michael Doyle and Sen John Cornyn each submitted bills on Feb 9, 2012 (H.R. 4004 and S. 2096 respectively) that would expand the existing law applicable to NIH to other Federal agencies and reduce the time to public posting to six months.

Similar opposing bills on public access policy have been submitted previously and so far, have come to naught. In response to the introduction of H.R. 3699, Michael Eisen wrote an op ed in the New York Times and a call to boycott the scientific publisher Elsevier was initiated. The Association of American Publishers endorsed HR. 3699, while a number of university presses (members of the AAP) have publicly distanced themselves from the legislation as has the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Nature Publishing Group.

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