Research Works Act – Publishing Industry Tries Again to Make You Pay Twice

admin | January 16, 2012

Jan. 16, 2012 - Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) recently introduced HR 3699 - the Research Works Act, which would reverse the Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health that allows the NIH to make peer-reviewed manuscripts freely available online within 12 months of their publication.

A similar bill from the 111th Congress, HR 801 - the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, failed to move out of committee following public outcry supported by reports from MapLight highlighting a connection to campaign contributions from the publishing industry. Nearly three years later, some of the names are different but the results are the same.

The new bill, HR 3699, which is supported by publishing interest groups such as the Association of American Publishers, would prohibit any federal agency from enforcing any requirement that publishers make works funded with tax dollars freely available online. The measure is opposed by groups such as the American Association of Law Libraries and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a committee of which Reps. Issa and Maloney are both members. Committee members received on average $5,684 in campaign contributions connected to the Book, newspaper & periodical publishing industry between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011.

  • House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman and HR 3699 bill sponsor Darrell Issa received $6,900, while HR 3699 co-sponsor Carolyn Maloney received $49,540. Maloney is one of the highest recipients of contributions connected to the publishing industry.
  • Contributions to committee members from the publishing industry total $221,690.
  • Contributions to all House members from the publishing industry total $1,618,279.   

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of reported contributions to congressional campaigns of House members in office during the 112th U.S. Congress, from Book, newspaper & periodical publishing interest groups, July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011. Contributions data source: