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

Published Jan 6, 2012

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. 
 
Supporters of public access need to speak out against this proposed legislation. We strongly urge you to contact these offices to express your opposition TODAY, or as soon as possible. To support you, draft letter text is available.
Also, don’t miss a key opportunity to express support for the expansion of the NIH public-access policy to other federal science and technology agencies. There are six days left to respond to the White House requests for information (RFI) on public access to scholarly publications and data (http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/action/action_access/11-1117.shtml). 
 
As ever, your support for public access to the published results of the research we pay for is critical – and appreciated! Thank you for your swift action to oppose this bill. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
 
Heather Joseph
Executive Director, SPARC
Spokesperson, Alliance for Taxpayer Access
heather [at] arl [dot] org
 
Andrea Brusca Higginbotham
Communications Manager, SPARC
Andrea [at] arl [dot] org
 

Comments

40 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

hjc24
Jan 6, 2012 12:46pm [ 1 ]

It is not a coincidence that an Elsevier-backed PAC has funded Rep. Maloney's election campaigns and, to a lesser extent, those of Rep. Issa. Maloney has been their top recipient of campaign contributions since 2008. Source: hhttp://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?cycle=2012&strID=C00345793

Carissa Tomlinson
Jan 6, 2012 12:58pm [ 2 ]

As a librarian I know that access to information is crucial to future developments in research and progress in all areas. As a tax payer, it disgusts me that my tax money would be used to fund research that would not be available without charge. Please stop giving into publisher lobbyists, drug companies, etc. Think of the good of humanity.

Nicholas Wong
Jan 6, 2012 1:45pm [ 3 ]

Please support public access to public research.

Claudia Holland
Jan 6, 2012 3:09pm [ 4 ]

Research funded by federal tax dollars provided by American tax payers should be publicly accessible to all through deposit in a variety of digital repositories. Universities, organizations, and federal agencies can and do offer these services to enable researchers to share their scholarship easily.

Passage of H.R. 3699 will inhibit economic growth, medical advancements, education, and entrepreneurship in our nation. At a time when many European countries far outstrip the U.S. in terms of online access to research, this bill would not only stymie America's contributions to this worldwide effort but also set us back 20 years. Can we afford this?

Isabel Silver
Jan 6, 2012 3:17pm [ 5 ]

Shocking! The public is entitle to access research it has supported. It should not be privatized and then sold back to the public!

Marilyn Goff
Jan 6, 2012 3:57pm [ 6 ]

The open access to research findings that have any component (even 1% or less)of public funding must remain accessible to all. Intellectual freedom and the freedom to read must not be infringed. HR 3699 is bad business and bad for America.

David Triggle
Jan 6, 2012 4:23pm [ 7 ]

This proposed legislation is sheer dishonesty. The comments from The Association of American Publishers are disingenuous in the extreme. The overwhelming proportion of academic scientific research is supported by the Federal Government and the publishing industry in fact does everything possible to restrict public access by extraordinarily high prices for academic journals - way outside what any public library can afford- and by charging large amounts for actually buying a single copy. I have been publishing in scientific journals for over 50 years and have some experience here. I note also with some cynical interest that according to "Open Secrets" Rep. Carolyn Maloney cites significant campaign "contributions" from a a major publisher, Reed-Elsevier. I wonder why Congress is even less well trusted, according to Gallup, than used car salesmen.

Shahla Yekta
Jan 7, 2012 8:46am [ 8 ]

the public has a right to information especially one that it has paid for.

Jan 7, 2012 3:42pm [ 9 ]

See: Research Works Act H.R.3699: The Private Publishing Tail Trying To Wag The Public Research Dog, Yet Again

http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/867-guid.html

The US Research Works Act (H.R.3699): "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."

Translation and Comments:

"If public tax money is used to fund research, that research becomes "private research" once a publisher "adds value" to it by managing the peer review."

[Comment: Researchers do the peer review for the publisher for free, just as researchers give their papers to the publisher for free, together with the exclusive right to sell subscriptions to it, on-paper and online, seeking and receiving no fee or royalty in return].

"Since that public research has thereby been transformed into "private research," and the publisher's property, the government that funded it with public tax money should not be allowed to require the funded author to make it accessible for free online for those users who cannot afford subscription access."

[Comment: The author's sole purpose in doing and publishing the research, without seeking any fee or royalties, is so that all potential users can access, use and build upon it, in further research and applications, to the benefit of the public that funded it; this is also the sole purpose for which public tax money is used to fund research.]"

H.R. 3699 misunderstands the secondary, service role that peer-reviewed research journal publishing plays in US research and development and its (public) funding.

Jessica Shultz
Jan 7, 2012 8:06pm [ 10 ]

As a previous public educator and current information professional in the educational sector, i believe fervently in open access of information and research, especially that which has been funded by taxpayers. As taxpaying citizens we are lead to believe that what we give our money to is worthwhile. Publishing results of publicly funded research should only increase shareholder interest and support. Similar to the local government monies given to public education that is public record, research and the results of that research funded with tax monies needs to be publicly published with open access to all!

Thank you for considering this matter of utmost importance,

J.Shultz

john fossella
Jan 7, 2012 9:06pm [ 11 ]

the public pays for research ... therefore the public should have access to the published findings that they pay for

Elinor Velasquez
Jan 8, 2012 5:07pm [ 12 ]

Please do not let this bill pass. Do not block public access to publicly funded research.

Daria Drobny
Jan 9, 2012 9:01am [ 13 ]

As a medical librarian in a major urban medical center, I am writing to strongly oppose H.R. 3699, the “Research Works Act," introduced on December 16, and referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This bill would prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grant funding to require that all members of the public be guaranteed online access to the products of the research that their tax dollars fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 3699 would reverse the highly successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.

Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH's PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, more than 90,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each year. H.R. 3699 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, healthcare professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 3699 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

Sincerely, Daria Drobny, MSLS, AHIP

carol jagiello
Jan 9, 2012 11:46am [ 14 ]

I am deeply troubled that 3669 cedes to private parties that which derived from public tax funded research. This should be available to all. Stop trying to privatize everything-

wggmn3
Jan 9, 2012 1:57pm [ 15 ]

Can one sign a petition?...& if so, do you have a link or links for it?...Thank you...

Kathy Yue
Jan 9, 2012 4:30pm [ 16 ]

Subject: I oppose H.R. 3699

Dear Representative;

On behalf of [your organization], I am writing to strongly oppose H.R. 3699, the “Research Works Act," introduced on December 16, and referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This bill would prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grant funding to require that all members of the public be guaranteed online access to the products of the research that their tax dollars fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 3699 would reverse the highly successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.

Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH's PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, more than 90,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each year. H.R. 3699 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, healthcare professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 3699 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

[Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy].

The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R. 3699.

Sincerely,

Maura Smale
Jan 12, 2012 8:24am [ 17 ]

I was absolutely dismayed to see the recently proposed Research Works Act (H.R. 3699). I strongly oppose this legislation, and hope that House of Representatives considers the rights of taxpayers to the research that they fund and to the worldwide public to research that could benefit all, rather than the academic publishers who have already made such high profits from the work that the scholarly community freely provides.

Maura Smale, Ph.D., MLIS New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

regine houghteling
Jan 12, 2012 1:31pm [ 18 ]

As a taxpayer, this publicly funded research is something I helped pay for.

Whose bad idea was this anyway.

Simply, rofiteering.

KMcd
Jan 12, 2012 9:18pm [ 19 ]

There is a petition on this site:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/207/support-the-open-access-movement-stop-the-research-works-act/

David Locke
Jan 13, 2012 7:17am [ 20 ]

The public funded the Human Genome Project, but now we are told that outcomes of that research are a private, rather than public, good. The privatization of public research is just more of the same.

The probably goal here is to further the anti-science aims of the right wing and their supporters. Don't worry so much about federally sponsored research as it will be eliminated entirely as we work through a solution to our artificial need for austerity. In a two-tiered society, nobody cares about the bottom, so even the top can't get what it wants. Justice.

ann viera
Jan 13, 2012 12:27pm [ 21 ]

Subject: I oppose HR 3699

I am a veterinary librarian. Veterinary medicine is a very small community of practice with a broad impact. Veterinarians treat all species but one. They need access to evidence in order to make the best clinical decisions. Veterinarians work in private practice, in state and national governments, in the military, and in industry. They are actively engaged in protecting animal and public health. Few of them have convenient free access to the veterinary journal literature, which is controlled largely by the toll-access publishers Elsevier and Wiley.

Recently, Dr. Davis at Cornell published the study cited below. It provides high quality evidence that HR 3699 is absolutely the wrong direction for our country's scholarly output.

From PubMed: FASEB J. 2011 Jul;25(7):2129-34. Epub 2011 Mar 30. Open access, readership, citations: a randomized controlled trial of scientific journal publishing. Davis PM. Department of Communication, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract "Does free access to journal articles result in greater diffusion of scientific knowledge? Using a randomized controlled trial of open access publishing, involving 36 participating journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, we report on the effects of free access on article downloads and citations. Articles placed in the open access condition (n=712) received significantly more downloads and reached a broader audience within the first year, yet were cited no more frequently, nor earlier, than subscription-access control articles (n=2533) within 3 yr. These results may be explained by social stratification, a process that concentrates scientific authors at a small number of elite research universities with excellent access to the scientific literature. The real beneficiaries of open access publishing may not be the research community but communities of practice that consume, but rarely contribute to, the corpus of literature.

The "communities of practice" identified by Dr. Davis will not be the only ones to be denied access to research vital to human and veterinary medical practice if for-profit publishers continue to charge libraries 10-20% per year inflation for journals. The toll-access publishers are making huge profits off journal publishing while simultaneously engaging in differential pricing and access policies to veterinary medical e-books.

Libraries have born the cost of unsustainable price increases for the past 20 years. Library budgets are flat or decreasing. Toll access publishers have seen profits increase dramatically while their actions have negatively impacted the access libraries can provide to scholars, and the that trend will only continue should the toll-access publishers be allowed to prevail with legislation like HR3699. (N.B.: An editor speaking at my university last year mentioned that Elsevier has two corporate jets.)

We need congress to help to change the scholarly publishing paradigm from 'the right to exclude to the right to distribute' (thanks to David Lewis at IUPUI).

Please oppose HR3699 unconditionally.

Sincerely ann viera Pendergrass AG-VET MED Library

Marie-Therese C. Sulit
Jan 14, 2012 2:29pm [ 22 ]

This is more of the privatization and corporatization of higher education.

What are you thinking Representative Maloney? I expect this from Republicans, but you?

Shame on you!

Yvonne Rubin
Jan 15, 2012 3:31pm [ 23 ]

We must keep FREE information on KEY health issues for ALL.

M. Rini Hughes
Jan 15, 2012 7:17pm [ 24 ]

If my tax dollars pay for the research, then the results belong to me as well as every other tax paying citizen. Ergo, this bill stinks to high heaven, as it were.

This should be a no-brainer - DO NOT pass this really bad bill! Thank you.

Melissa Bird
Jan 17, 2012 11:34am [ 25 ]

I cannot believe there is even the slightest possibility of this passing. As a recent undergrad graduate, and a student pursuing a Master's degree, I cannot tell you how critical the open access to these journals' articles are to furthering the knowledge gained by our, and future, generations. The fact that these representatives are lobbying for this because they received campaign funds from Elsevier is disgusting and nothing short of that. Why is it that money is more important than making educational resources free for anyone to use? When did personal gain outweigh the benefits of readily accessible information? I am ashamed that GREED is what our government responds to and not the overall benefits of the people it is supposed to govern.

Representatives, get away from the selective society (of money) you choose to surround yourselves with and reacquaint yourselves with the needs of the people before this country goes the way of Rome...which our future children will probably never know about since they won't be able to access actual historical articles on the matter and instead will rely on the overly dramatic - and, oftentimes, wildly inaccurate - reproductions of the "History" channel.

Jim Young
Jan 17, 2012 12:28pm [ 26 ]

Hey - braineacts! Is this about protecting others from not having access to potentially very lucrative research, or is it about making more federal money?

Charles C. Rankin
Jan 17, 2012 1:22pm [ 27 ]

Please do not pass this bill (H.R. 3699). I consider the whole thing interference, and very bad policy. Results of taxpayer research belong to the public within a reasonable time!

H. Gruss
Jan 18, 2012 12:06pm [ 28 ]

What happened to freedom of speach, freedom of the press? Did we turn into a comunist country and I slept through it?

ernest porter
Jan 18, 2012 1:19pm [ 29 ]

I hope. Our gov does not take away. This. This is a good thing. It helps alot of people. Around the world good information.

Shirley Lukacs
Jan 18, 2012 1:37pm [ 30 ]

I use the internet daily for access to a variety of information, from health issues to entertainment and news. Please do not pass this bill. Remember, you are representing the majority of the people in the USA, not the 1 %. Please listen to us.

Marlana Hobden
Jan 18, 2012 2:10pm [ 31 ]

I question the morality of Darrell Issa and Carolyn Maloney. To use our tax dollars for research and then make people PAY to get the information, or block access completely, is WRONG. Plain and simple. If you're only going to give in to lobbyists, then you have NO business whatsoever being in public office. You work for AMERICAN CITIZENS, NOT special interests groups. DO NOT PASS THIS BILL!!!

Michael O'Brien, MD
Jan 18, 2012 11:32pm [ 32 ]

Science needs to be open and free for it to work, otherwise it is just marketing. Stop the corporate take-over of our democracy and our science. Vote no.

Don Fahnestock
Jan 19, 2012 11:08am [ 33 ]

Any member of Congress voting for H.R. 3699, SOPA or PIPA must ask themselves three questions: Why am I opposed to freedom? Why am I opposed to liberty? Why am I opposed to the very concepts upon which the United States of America was formed? If, after answering these simple questions, they still vote for any or all of these measures, then it would be fair to call them un-American!

anthony lucas
Jan 19, 2012 5:31pm [ 34 ]

Stop it!

Humberto Rodriguez
Jan 19, 2012 5:47pm [ 35 ]

No es casualidad que se quiera autorizar una ley que prohiba la libertad de circulacion del conocimento, toods sabemos que el conovimiento es poder: poder de decidir hacia donde queremos ir, a quien queremos conocer y que queremos pensar...y eso no le convienen ni a los gobiernos ni a los empresarios y explotadores del mundo entero, si por ellos fuera, el mundo seguiría sumido en as tinieblas de la edad media. Es necesario que defiendamos nuestra libertad por todos los rincones del planeta, pues lo ue afecta aun país se va a regar a todo el mundo. No es un asunto de fronteras o ideologias es un asunto de LIBERTAD Y CONIOCIMIENTOS PARA TODOS

Peter Stanford
Jan 19, 2012 7:38pm [ 36 ]

HR3699 sadly is just another way for politicians to get themselves into our personal lives. Oppose this bill any way you can.

Arend Bayer
Feb 1, 2012 11:18am [ 37 ]

There is now a white house petition opposing the bill: Oppose HR3699

Smitha
Feb 5, 2012 8:35am [ 38 ]

Research results must be accessible to public

DANTE B DESCALZI
Feb 8, 2012 2:28pm [ 39 ]

Public Access to tax-payer-sponsored scientific literature must always be free. It is our tax-payer dollars. Let's show them!

Natalia
Feb 9, 2012 4:49pm [ 40 ]

I really hope this bill doesnt pass otherwise we'll be deprived of information that belongs to us.

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