Ten Library, Publishing, and Advocacy Organizations Oppose the Research Works Act in Letter

Ten library, publishing, and advocacy organizations have opposed the Research Works Act in a letter sent to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here's an excerpt:

We fully respect copyright law and the protection it affords content creators, owners, and users. The NIH Public Access Policy operates fully within current U.S. Copyright law as articles reporting on NIH funded research are copyrightable, and the copyright belongs to the author. The NIH Policy requires only the grant of a non-exclusive license to NIH, fully consistent with federal policies such as Circular A-110 and Circular A-102. The author is free to transfer some or all of the exclusive rights under copyright to a journal publisher or to assign these anywhere they so choose—a freedom crucial to the authors of scientific articles, who rightly want to determine where and how their work is distributed.

Under H.R. 3699, authors of articles reporting on federally funded research would face a new restriction. The proposed bill requires authors to seek the permission of a publisher before their work can be distributed through an online, networked government channel such as NIH’s PubMed Central, even if they themselves—as the author of the work and the relevant rights holder—have already consented to do so, potentially limiting the authors ability to distribute their work as widely as they may wish.

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