ERIC Number: EJ984790
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-22
Who Gets to See Published Research?
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2012
The battle over public access to federally financed research is heating up again. The basic question is this: When taxpayers help pay for scholarly research, should those taxpayers get to see the results in the form of free access to the resulting journal articles? Actions in Washington this month highlight how far from settled the question is, even among publishers. A major trade group, the Association of American Publishers, has thrown its weight behind proposed new legislative limits on requiring public access, while several of its members, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) press, have publicly disagreed with that position. The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy just closed a period of public comment on public access to what it called "peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally funded research." The office has not set a timetable for what happens now, but its next moves could also determine whether federal mandates that govern public access have much of a future. In Congress, meanwhile, U.S. Reps. Darrell E. Issa, a Republican of California, and Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat of New York, introduced the Research Works Act (HR 3699) last month. The bill would forbid federal agencies to do anything that would result in the sharing of privately published research--even if that research is done with the help of taxpayer dollars--unless the publisher of the work agrees first. That would spell the end of policies such as the National Institutes of Health's public-access mandate, which requires that the results of federally supported research be made publicly available via its PubMed Central database within 12 months of publication. The publishers' association came out with a strong statement of support for the proposed legislation. However, the MIT Press and other critics say proposed legislation to limit public access to the results of some studies would work against the open exchange of ideas.
Descriptors: Access to Information, Public Agencies, Journal Articles, Federal Aid, Research, Federal Legislation, Publishing Industry, University Presses
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Massachusetts; New York; United States; Washington