Proposed Law Would Make NIH Less "Open"

A controversial bill about open-access is back on the congressional agenda. The bill would undermine the U.S. National Institutes of Health's requirement that its grantees provide NIH with a copy of their peer-reviewed articles, which NIH makes freely accessible online on the PubMed Central database. Representative John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, originally proposed the bill last fall, when it received a hearing and plenty of attention. He reintroduced it this week.

The bill is again provoking strong reactions from both sides of the issue. Supporters argue that NIH's current policy hurts publishers' copyright protection. Critics say it does nothing of the sort and instead provides much-needed public access to the results of federally funded research.