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Policy

Universities support open-access bill

August 7, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 32

A group of 25 university provosts issued an open letter on July 28 to the higher education community in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (S. 2695). The bill, which was introduced in the Senate in May, would require federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of more than $100 million to require that agency-funded researchers submit an electronic manuscript of peer-reviewed journal articles for posting in a publicly accessible digital repository (C&EN, May 8, page 28). The letter says the legislation is "good for education and good for research." Although the letter recognizes that public access to publications does not negate the need for formal publishing, it does "challenge us all to think about how best to align the intellectual and economic models for scholarly publishing with the needs of contemporary scholarship and the benefits, including low marginal cost of distribution, of network technology." On July 31, eight consumer groups such as Consumers Union announced that they back the bill. Many scholarly publishers−including the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN−argue that this bill will damage their ability to continue publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed journals.

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