In the post Rolling back open access, I passed on the message about the badly thought-out Research Works Act (H.R.3699), which is intended to prohibit federal agencies from requiring public online access to grant-funded research results.
The International Society for Computational Biology has sent e-mail to all its members:
As many of you may be aware, the U.S. House of Representatives has recently been presented with a bill called the Research Works Act (HR 3699) that threatens the current U.S. requirements of public access to federally funded research results. ISCB strongly opposes this bill. Burkhard Rost, ISCB President, and Richard Lathrop, ISCB Public Affairs & Policies Committee Chair, are drafting a letter to the bill’s authors that expresses our opposition and emphasizes the importance of the ISCB Public Policy Statement on Open Access to Scientific and Technical Research Literature that was released in 2010. If you are a member of ISCB and have not yet signed on to our statement, you are invited to do so at your earliest opportunity via the link to current signatories from the above URL.
I’m glad to see that the ISCB is taking action. It would be valuable for people to write letters to their congressional representatives. Those who are members of professional societies should write letters to the president or board of the society asking them to take action.
Of course, some professional societies behave more like publishing houses than like member-serving societies, and may be perfectly happy getting back the right to keep all taxpayer-paid research behind a paywall. Has anyone gotten ACM or IEEE to recognize the importance of open access to scientific literature?
Note: the NIH rule does not prevent publishers from making money selling articles, as the articles don’t become open access until a year after publication, and the user interface for getting access to the publications is rather awkward. Several journals had already adopted an “open after a year” policy before the NIH ruling took effect.