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Expand access, protect research

August 06, 2007

Re "Research for all," editorial, July 27

Although the National Institutes of Health funds many research studies, it does not pay for independent peer review. That function, which ensures the integrity of the research, is funded by journal publishers. But government bureaucracy continues to impede participation and undermines the successful expansion of information access.

Authors and publishers deserve copyright protection for their works. The current NIH funding proposal recognizes the importance of copyright but still violates its fundamental principles -- namely the right to reproduce and distribute the copyrighted work. Why does The Times think that Congress should decide how long the private sector may have to market copyrighted information before the government expropriates publishers' investments and makes their content free?

Publishers will keep working to expand access to research while maintaining the integrity of peer review and copyright protection. This is essential if we are to sustain the incentive for continued publisher investments that advance science.

Brian D. Crawford

Washington

The writer chairs the executive council of the professional and scholarly publishing division of the Assn. of American Publishers.

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