Open medical knowledge saves lives: Oppose H.R. 3699

Here's a terrific article by Gilles Frydman at advocating for opposition to H.R. 3699, aka The Research Works Act (RWA). The bill before Congress would seriously impede "the ability of patients and caregivers, researchers, physicians and healthcare professionals to access and use critical health-related information in a timely manner." (@timoreilly via @epatientdave)


  1. But if the corporations can’t make money oppressing you by denying you health care, how will we ever…um…think of the corporations, our newest citizens!  Don’t discriminate against people just because they are imaginary entities granted legal rights by a corrupt political system!

  2. Thank you for linking to this important call for action. We are all going to be patients at different moments of our life. As we are learning that too often the clinical emperor has few if any clothes on, having the ability to read all available full-text scientific articles regarding our conditions is a modern fundamental civil right, which was granted to us in 2008. 

    Let’s make sure that monopolistic and collusive members of the scientific publishing industry do not succeed to usurp the democratic process to block progress and return us to the stone age of medicine, when docs where able to tell us this was just too complicated for us to understand!

  3. There is a potential danger in putting this data in government-controlled databases. In that case, the government might possibly try censoring past results. (They might also try censoring present results but that goes along with the government funding in the first place.) For example, if a creationist or deep ecologist administration gets elected they might try removing some articles from the database.

    We can prevent such censorship by having mirrors not under government control. They exist for at least one public-access organization, Maybe Wikileaks or Openleaks could try starting a few.

    Multiple mirrors might be a little expensive now but, in accordance with Moore’s Law, the cost should decline rapidly. Eventually, the mirrors might be supported by volunteer efforts similar to SETI@home.

    1. No need to be combative about it. We can always have non-government mirrors as long as the license allows it. No need to go into Wikileaks territory; it’s just redundancy, not exposing corruption. The government can have one (or many) of the mirrors, let others mirror also., maybe?

  4. All this concern is based on this statement by an opponent of the bill:

    “If public tax money is used to fund research, that research becomes “private research” once a publisher “adds value” to it by managing the peer review.”

    I would want to see some justification to this strange and unlikely interpretation of private research before concluding that HR3699 overturns NIH requirements for public dissemination of tax-funded research.

    That being said, HR3699 is at least unnecessary, if not actually harmful.  There is no need whatsoever for a law that says private research can’t be published without consent of a publishing corporation, it’s just more stupid toadying by Congresscritters to their corporate masters.

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