The Attack on the NIH Policy
Last month, Chairman Conyers (D-MI) introduced the "Fair Copyright in Research Works Act" (H.R. 6845) into the House. Paul Courant, Peter Suber, and others, rightly pointed out that "fair" is foul in this case.
The aim of the bill is to use the Copyright Act to override longstanding federal procurement law, including the NIH Public Access Policy and to assert Judiciary Committee jurisdiction over federal procurement agreements that involve support for the creation of copyrighted works, such as journal articles reporting the results of scientific research.
The sad news is that the American Association of Publishers were successful in persuading the Chairman to introduce this bill even though it is terrible public policy.
The better news is that it does not look like this bill is going anywhere during this Congress. Neither Mr. Berman (D-CA)(Chair of the relevant House Subcommittee) nor Mr. Coble (R-NC) (Ranking Member on the Subcommittee) signed on as co-sponsors.
This initiative to snuff out the NIH policy has actually had a galvanizing effect on the community of supporters, and it's time to press the other agencies, such as the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, on the question of public access to federally-funded research.