Two U.S. senators, eager for access to the results of taxpayer-financed research, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require that the results of such research be posted free on the Internet.
If the bill is enacted, each federal agency that spends more than $100-million yearly on research, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and eight others, would have to create an online repository and require its grantees to place their research papers in it within six months of publication. The bill goes further than a policy in place at the NIH for the past year that merely requests posting in its repository, and suggests doing it within 12 months of publishing (The Chronicle, February 4, 2005).
The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, has delighted open-access advocates like Peter Suber, director of the Open Access Project at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group, who called it “superb” in his blog and wrote, “It will make a very large and useful body of research even more useful than it already is by sharing it with all who can apply or build upon it.”
Some publishers, concerned that free access will make readers drop subscriptions, are unhappy, according to an article in today’s Washington Post.