Twists in the debate on public access

Since the beginning of the year, the debate over public access has been hotly contended throughout the research and legislative communities. The National Institutes of Health’s public-access policy states that peer-reviewed articles based on NIH-funded research must be made publically available, one year after their initial publication date.

In December, U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced the Research Works Act to the U.S House of Representatives. The Research Works Act prohibited federal agencies from requiring researchers they fund to post their papers online, in effect reversing the NIH public-access policy. Understandably, the Research Works Act has been met with considerable controversy within the research community.

Those in favor of open access received a victory earlier this week when Issa announced that, after hearing from both sides of the debate on public access, he and Maloney would not be moving forward on the legislation stating that, “the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate.”

The ASBMB Office of Public Affairs will continue to monitor all legislation which may impact this important issue to the research community.

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