In a move to encourage researchers to make their work open to the public, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Calgary established funds that faculty and graduate students could use cover publication charges for open-access journals. Berkeley and Calgary are two of several funds established in recent years, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the University of Oregon, and other sites in the U.K.

You both have plans and policies to solve the grave problems facing the nation. I'm writing to add one tool to your toolkit: "open access" (OA) to publicly-funded research. A national commitment to make the non-classified results of federally-funded research freely available online would be good for research, good for the economy, good for taxpayers, and good for your own high-priority plans and policies.

Many JCB readers will remember Heather Joseph (nee Dalterio) from her time as Managing Editor of the ASCB’s journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell in the late ‘90s. Her drive to “get people the information
they need, when they need it, and in the form they want it”, has led her to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), where she serves as Executive Director.

Six months after the new, strengthened version of the NIH OA policy took effect, it faces a bill in Congress to overturn it. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 6845) on September 9. Conyers is the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, which is the House committee most responsible for copyright legislation, especially through its Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. The subcommittee held a hearing on the Conyers bill on September 11. (For links to the bill and hearing, see the bibliography below.)


SPARC Resources

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Why Access Matters