The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9813, Page 288, 28 January 2012 (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60125-1
“Academic publishers have become the enemies of science.” So wrote Dr Mike Taylor, a scientist at the UK’s University of Bristol. He, and many scientists like him, are angry that publishers are supporting the Research Works Act (RWA), a controversial Bill before the US Congress.
The RWA is co-sponsored by Republican representative Darrell Issa and the Democrat Carolyn Maloney. It was introduced to Congress in December, 2011. The Bill states that its purpose is “to ensure the continued publication and integrity of peer-reviewed research works by the private sector”. If enacted, it would prevent any Federal agency from requiring government researchers to enhance the dissemination of their taxpayer-funded research by posting it on the internet free of charge without the publisher’s prior permission. This provision would overturn the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) 4-year-old public open-access policy, which requires NIH grantees to submit copies of their peer-reviewed papers to PubMed Central for posting no later than a year after journal publication. On PubMed Central, the public can freely access papers reporting publicly funded research.
This short and hastily put together legislation is not in the interests of either science or the public.