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About AHCJ: General News

AHCJ opposes taking taxpayer-funded research out of public’s reach Date: 01/12/12

Columbia, MO — Congress should not roll back public access to taxpayer-funded research reports, AHCJ wrote in a letter to members of Congress (PDF).

AHCJ is opposing the Research Works Act (H.R. 3699), which would remove the public’s access to medical journal articles about publicly funded research. They are currently available for free to the public no more than 12 months after their publication in a medical journal.Letter to Congress opposing Research Works Act

“Our board of directors believes strongly that more transparency, not less, is vital for the public to assess how funds are spent and to benefit from and learn about the research underwritten by the government,” board president Charles Ornstein wrote in a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “The recently introduced Research Works Act is a step in the wrong direction.”

In the letter, AHCJ rebutted medical publishers’ assertions that the current system doesn’t work.

“We understand the objections of such publishers, who contribute editorial support and fear loss of income,” Ornstein wrote. “But it’s worth noting that much of that support comes from unpaid peer reviewers. And publishers still maintain a year of exclusivity, enabling them to reap profits during the time when interest in research is highest.”

In 2010, AHCJ voiced concerns about a similar bill, which did not become law.