The battle over public access to federally funded research is heating up again, and university presses have been drawn into it. In the past week, several scholarly publishers, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s press, have parted company with a major publishing association over a bill in Congress that would curb public-access mandates.
U.S. Reps. Darrell E. Issa, Republican of California, and Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, introduced the bill, known as the Research Works Act (HR 3699), last month. The bill would forbid federal agencies to do anything that would result in the sharing of privately published research—even if that research is done with the help of taxpayer dollars—unless the publisher of the work agrees first.
If passed, the bill would undo policies such as the National Institutes of Health’s public-access mandate, which requires that the results of federally financed research be made publicly available within 12 months of publication.