Bill to Make Publicly-Funded Research Public

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Billions of dollars in grants are awarded each year by the government to fund research, but many of the findings are not readily available to the public. This situation would change under legislation introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) by requiring federal agencies dolling out $100 million or more in research funding to publish reports within six months of completion for Americans to access. The National Institutes of Health launched a similar program in 2005 called the Public Access Plan, which provided the impetus for the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373).

Even though the Senate bill is supported by higher education leaders and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, it has run into opposition from the publishing industry, which stands to lose money if the plan results in research studies being put up on the Internet for free. Publishers have convinced Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) to introduce an alternative bill (Fair Copyright in Research Works Act) that prevents the government from mandating copyright transfer for federally-funded research reports.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


Leave a comment