Since Congress voted to encourage NIH to adopt an open access policy for scholarly publications that resulted from research it funded, the journal publishers have lobbied Congress to reverse it. It seems the efforts of publishing companies are beginning to pay off with the introduction of the bill HR 6845. The bill would shift rights away from the article authors, the researchers, and back to large publishing houses. In an age of internet publishing and voluntary peer review, what possible reason could their be for such a shift? How would increasing restrictions on scientific publications increase openness and access to scientific discovery, the very foundation of scientific advancement? These sort of copyright issues cut across the partisan divide, typically aligning members of Congress from both parties from areas of the country with strong content generation industries (TV, movies, music, print). In other words, members of Congress from California, New York, and Florida (Disney) or committee chairs who get a lot of money from these big media companies typically introduce and support these anti-competitive, anti-scientific pieces of legislation. This bill is no exception, being sponsored by John Conyers (D-MI), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Tom Feeney (R-FL).
Would you like open access to continue? Would you like PubMed to remain a comprehensive resource for NIH research? Write your representative and ask them to oppose HR 6845. You can also support open-access journals like PLoS.
Here is an example letter you can modify to your liking and send to your representative.
As a constituent who is strongly in support of the advancement of science, I am writing to urge you to vote against the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (HR 6845). This bill takes rights away from researchers at the forefront of our country's efforts to remain the top research nation in the world and puts them in the hands of publishing companies whose business models are stuck on the 1960's. Open access to research is a centuries old foundation of scientific advancement. Open access to government-funded research was a long overdue stance that provides the American taxpayer with the highest return on his or her investment. HR 6845 would undermine science and devalue the government's investment in science. I strongly urge you to vote against HR 6845. Thank you for your time.