Friday, March 6, 2009

Open Access and the House of Representatives

Sorry, no research summaries this week. If you are in the research world, you probably know how important access to information is to science. You probably know, at least from this blog, that many of the leading researchers in the graphene field voluntarily post their work to the fabulous open access physics journal/website arXiv.org. American readers might know that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a policy which states that any articles written from research they've funded have to be freely available after 12 months.

Apparently, a representative from the U.S. House has decided that's a pretty bad policy, and is trying to pass a bill (not for the first time) which bars federal agencies from requiring open access to work they sponsor. Let me see if I can follow the logic of the sponsor, John Conyers:

1. My constituents pay taxes.
2. Some of that tax money goes to pay for research.
3. Leading scientists think more research can get done if everyone can access the initial research, which was paid for with tax money.
4. ....
5. Let's make sure that my constituents or any other scientists have to pay a lot of money to access the results of the research they paid for in the first place.

Bad idea. If you're into the U.S. politics side of things, feel free to contact John Conyers and ask him what in the world he's thinking.

This will be the last political post on this blog. We'll get back to real business next week.