Thursday's edition of the Guardian reported
on a story that came out over a week earlier in The Washington Post
. I published lengthy post
on the issue last week as well. The issue at hand is the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006--introduced by Senators Cornyn and Lieberman--which would require open public access, within six months of publication, to articles on scientific work supported by any of the eleven largest US government funders of research, including NASA and the Department of Health and Human Services (under which the NIH falls). The Guardian
article elaborates a bit on the state of open access in the UK:
The proposed new law comes after an independent report for the European commission last month recommended that research funded by European taxpayers should also be available free on the web. In the UK, meanwhile, public funders of research are still considering whether to recommend so-called "open access" to research, despite support for the idea from a committee of MPs. Charitable funders such as the Wellcome Trust have already come out in favour....
...Peter Willis, Liberal Democrat MP and chairman of the science and technology select committee, said the proposed US law should serve as a warning to the government this side of the Atlantic that the current model needs to be changed. "This is yet another example of the dissemination of research moving into the 21st century and the UK must not be left behind," he said. "To cling on to what are basically 19th-century principles of publishing research seems to me a rather bizarre concept in the 21st century."