The University of California, Berkeley's Michael Eisen has taken his complaints against the proposed Research Works Act to the pages of The New York Times. "If the bill passes, to read the results of federally funded research, most Americans would have to buy access to individual articles at a cost of $15 or $30 apiece. In other words, taxpayers who already paid for the research would have to pay again to read the results," he writes. The bill was introduced in to the US House of Representatives by Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
The Association of American Publishers lauded the proposal in a statement last month. "The Research Works Act will prohibit federal agencies from unauthorized free public dissemination of journal articles that report on research which, to some degree, has been federally-funded but is produced and published by private sector publishers receiving no such funding," the statement says.
Eisen, who is also a founder of the open-access publisher the Public Library of Science, argues that "the value they say they add lies primarily in peer review." That process, while managed by journal editors, "is carried out almost entirely by researchers who volunteer their time," he adds.
As our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reports, other open-access advocates are lobbying the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is currently reviewing the bill, to support open access to federally funded research.