Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Government-Funded Research to Be Housed in Free Public Database

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Government-Funded Research to Be Housed in Free Public Database

Article excerpt

A provision in a spending bill recently passed by the U.S. Congress would give the public free access to the results of federally funded biomedical research. For several years, a coalition of researchers and activists have lobbied to pass controversial legislation that would require scientists who receive grant money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit a final copy of their research papers to NIH when those papers are accepted for publication in a journal. An NIH database would then post those papers, free to the public, within 12 months after publication. A similar but voluntary process has been in effect for several years, but the policy will now become mandatory.

The measure, whose supporters included libraries whose budgets have had trouble keeping up with rising journal subscription costs, patient advocacy groups seeking easier access to the latest medical findings, and taxpayer groups, was passed on the premise that taxpayers have already paid for the research and should not have to subscribe to expensive scientific journals to read about the results. Journals publishers and the Association for American Publishers have voiced concerns that the measure does not adequately account for their investment in the time-consuming and expensive peer-review and editing process, will result in lost income from paid subscriptions, and that the policy may violate copyright law. …

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