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Policy

Lawmakers Drop Open-Access Bill

by Britt E. Erickson
March 5, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 10

Reps. Darrell E. Issa (R-Calif.) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), sponsors of the Research Works Act (H.R. 3699), have decided not to pursue legislative action on the controversial bill. The lawmakers announced their decision on Feb. 27, just hours after publishing giant Elsevier withdrew its support for the bill. “We have come to the conclusion that the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate” on open-access publishing, the lawmakers said. H.R. 3699 would have required federal agencies to obtain consent from private-sector publishers prior to disseminating research articles. Open-access advocates opposed the bill because it would have rolled back NIH’s policy on public access to federally funded research results and prohibited other federal agencies from adopting similar policies. Elsevier withdrew its support for the bill after thousands of researchers threatened to boycott publishing in its journals. Elsevier says it made the decision to “help create a less heated and more productive climate for our ongoing discussions with research funders.”

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