US senators propose to make scientific research freely available

American legislators have proposed that scientific research paid for by US taxpayers should be freely available online to everyone. Analysts described the move as a “potential banana skin” for established scientific publishers such as Reed Elsevier, Springer and Informa. 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.

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