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Senior academic officers oppose 'public access' legislation

(Bethesda, MD) September 22, 2006 Senior academic officers from 10 institutions issued a letter to Senators John Cornyn (TX) and Joseph Lieberman (CT) expressing their concerns about the provisions of S.2695, the "Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006." These institutions, which collectively make nearly $3 billion in annual research investments, expressed their concerns that mandating a six-month public release of journal articles would negatively impact the academic community and the publishers that disseminate their work.

In signing the letter in opposition to S.2695, Dr. Robert Rich, Senior Vice President and Dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, expressed his concern that "the legislation would damage the special relationship between scholarly societies and academic communities who work in partnership to ensure that these communities are sustained and extended, science is advanced, research meets the highest standards, and patient care is enhanced with accurate and timely information." Rich also expressed concern that "S.2695 would divert scarce Federal dollars away from research in order to provide a service already provided to the public by society publishers."

The nonprofit publishers comprising the DC Principles Coalition (http://www.DCPrinciples.org) are among those who are able to provide public access to literature either immediately or within months of publication without government mandate through corporate and academic subscriptions. According to Martin Frank, Ph.D., Executive Director of the American Physiological Society (APS) and a member of the Coalition, "a six-month release mandate may force some journals to shift to a publication model requiring authors to pay for their publications through their Federal grants, diminishing funds available for research to benefit the public good."

Issued on September 22, 2006, the letter reads:


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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
22-Sep-2006


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