February 11, 2009
CALL TO ACTION: Ask your Representative to oppose the H.R. 801 - The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act
Letters Opposing the Bill:
In December 2008, Representative Berman, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet requested written follow up to Heather Joseph’s testimony at the September 11 hearing described below. The Chairman posed four questions, which SPARC addressed in detail in its response [PDF].
Question 1. You suggested in your testimony that the NIH mandatory policy will have a negligible impact on publishers. Is this true for all publishers and subject matter? Are there studies or evidence that verifies this claim?
2. Has SPARC worked with traditional subscription-based publishers to achieve public access objectives in a way that is also consistent with their business model? Does SPARC consider efforts undertaken by publishers, such as publication of articles on HighWire Press, a comparable alternative to the NIH open access policy?
3. You mentioned in your testimony that there has been a rapid escalation of the price of journal subscriptions. Please provide more details concerning this rise in journal pries. For instance, how much did average subscription prices rise in the last 5 years? What do you think is behind the price increases?
4. You discussed in your written testimony your experiences as Publishing Director of the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell. You mention that the full content of the journal is published on PubMed Central two months after publication and that as a result, revenue generated by subscriptions has increased. Can you tell me how the journal makes it revenue? Have paid subscriptions to the journal increased? Why do you think people go to the journal’s website to download articles that they can get from PubMed Central? While early publication on PMC may work for MBC, why would it work for other journals?
September 18, 2008
CALL TO ACTION: Tell Congress you oppose the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act
September 16, 2008
On September 9, Representative John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, introduced legislation that would amend U.S. copyright law, overturn the NIH Public Access Policy, and effectively make it illegal for other U.S. federal agencies to enact similar policies. The proposed legislation is the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (HR6845).
On September 11, 2008, the House Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing to discuss the proposed legislation. Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC and convenor of the Alliance, spoke on behalf of the libraries, research institutions, consumer groups, publishing organizations, and patients who support public access and the NIH Policy. Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Director of the NIH, also gave testimony to the tremendous advances in science that have already taken place due to public access to NIH-funded research. Transcripts of both Dr. Zerhouni’s [PDF] and Ms. Joseph’s [PDF] testimony are available online as is as the video [SMI] of the hearing.
The supportive testimony was the culmination of weeks’ worth of active engagement by members of the coalition. A sample of the letters that were submitted to Congress to express support for the policy and oppose HR6845 includes:
Supporters are encouraged to contact their Senators and Representatives to affirm their support for free and open access to publicly funded research and ask that they oppose HR6845. A specific call to action will be issued shortly. Please visit the ATA Web site for updates.
See our media page for more details on this development.