Peter Suber's SPARC Open Access Newsletter (SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) comes out at the beginning of every month. The new issue details developments in Open Access to taxpayer-funded research. There is a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate in December which would REQUIRE open access to articles published in the Scientific/Technical/Medical journals if the research was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. "Over half of the non-classified research funded by the federal government is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services."
The bill got little press--attention being on other Congressional issues such as the ANWR flap and the renewal of the sunsetting provisions of the Patriot Act. But it is an issue of great importance to the scientific and scholarly communities, and to libraries and library users. This is knowledge the public has already paid for, largely locked up behind prohibitively high subscription prices, journals that cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars per year.