The Research Works Act (H.R.3699) introduced by Reps. Issa and Maloney would prohibit federal agencies that give grants from requiring that grant-funded research be made freely available online.  Section 2 of the bill reads: “No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or (2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-sector research work.”

The legislation runs counter to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, enacted in 2008, which requires that NIH-funded peer-reviewed journal articles be to be “accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.”

Berkeley Professor Michael Eisen has published a blog noting that Rep. Maloney received 12 financial contributions from the publishing company Elsevier and its leadership last year. He asks readers to contact Rep. Maloney and urge her to withdraw the bill. Similarly, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access has put out a call to action urging people to contact both the bill’s sponsors, and the Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to voice their opposition to the bill.

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