The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the sponsors of the Research Works Act – Reps. Issa and Maloney – have pledged not to move the legislation forward. The Research Works Act would have prevented government agencies that disburse grants from requiring that peer-reviewed literature resulting from research funded by their grants be made freely available online.
The legislation ran 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.”
The statement from Reps. Issa and Maloney:
“As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open-access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future. The American people deserve to have access to research for which they have paid. This conversation needs to continue, and we have come to the conclusion that the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the debate.”
Hours before this announcement, Elsevier announced it would no longer support the Research Works Act. The publisher’s statement noted that it had “heard from some Elsevier journal authors, editors and reviewers who were concerned that the Act seemed inconsistent with Elsevier’s long-standing support for expanding options for free and low-cost public access to scholarly literature.” Elsevier had been the target of a boycott due to its previous support for the bill.