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Policy

Public-Access Advocacy Gains Momentum

by Britt E. Erickson
May 28, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 22

A petition posted on the White House website last week calls on the Obama Administration to make the results of taxpayer-funded scientific research in journal articles freely available online. Within days the petition had received more than half of the 25,000 signatures needed to guarantee a response from the President. Supporters of the petition include researchers, patient advocates, universities, libraries, students, businesses, and families. “The highly successful public access policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President [Barack] Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research,” the petition states. The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (H.R. 4004), a bill introduced earlier this year by Rep. Michael F. Doyle (D-Pa.), is also gaining support. The bill would require all federal agencies that fund $100 million or more in scientific research annually to adopt a public-access policy. Doyle says he is willing to work with stakeholders to determine an embargo period during which publishers could charge for access to journal articles.

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