Congress Not Shutting Down Open Access To NIH-Funded Research... Yet
from the but-keep-watching dept
So it caught our eye when a bunch of readers started submitting an Ars Technica piece about a bill from John Conyers, called The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, which would forbid government agencies from making any research grants contingent on the work being published. As the writeup notes, this actually appears to have been more of a turf battle, where the House's subcommittee on IP was annoyed that the whole NIH thing didn't include them in the process. The complaints from publishers is fairly bogus. After all, they're receiving a ton of free benefits from federally funded research, and are whining that they can't come up with a business model and now need the gov't to protect their old business model (which actually stifles the dissemination of knowledge). Passing such a bill would be a horrible precedent, which is why so many folks are up in arms about it (without even getting into the bad unintended consequences).
However, for now, it looks like folks up in arms over this missed the fact that the bill is pretty much dead in the water this year. Right after the hearing last week, it was made clear that nothing is going to happen on it this year, and the bill's own sponsor, Rep. Conyers, seems a bit confused over his own support of the bill (he seems much more interested in the turf war over who has a say in the matter, than in what the bill actually means). That doesn't mean it's not worth paying attention to, as next year it could come back. But, for now, it's not going anywhere.