Science  11 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5860, pp. 145

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  1. Public-Access Backlash

    1. Jocelyn Kaiser

    Opponents of a new congressional rule that orders the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to post online copies of papers it funds are questioning the legality of the order. Buried in a spending bill (Science, 4 January, p. 18), the directive asks NIH to make mandatory an existing policy, mostly ignored, that asks grantees to submit copies of their peer-reviewed, accepted manuscripts to NIH for release within 12 months after publication. Last week, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) complained that the new policy “undermines” publisher copyright and is “inconsistent” with U.S. intellectual property laws. Open-access advocates support the new law because it gives taxpayers access to government-funded research.

    AAP's Allan Adler says he's waiting to see how NIH will implement the law. But at minimum, AAP wants NIH to get public input in a formal rulemaking. In a statement, NIH said that “the law regarding a mandatory policy and copyright is clear.” The agency is expected to announce its plan as soon as next week.

  2. Coming to America

    1. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

    The number of new foreign students entering graduate programs in the United States has rebounded to nearly the levels predating the terrorist attacks of 2001. The U.S. National Science Foundation's latest Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering shows that first-time foreign student enrollment in graduate science and engineering programs rose by 16% from 2005 to 2006, to 33,435, after dipping to 27,712 in 2004. The latest number is just shy of the 34,204 enrollments in the fall of 2001.

    The increase is calming fears that visa restrictions put in place after the terrorist strikes are driving foreign talent to competing nations such as Canada and Australia. The uptick “suggests that the proactive steps by U.S. universities and by the U.S. government have been paying off and that America remains the destination of choice for graduate students, especially in the STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields,” says Peggy Blumenthal of the Institute of International Education in New York City. But, she says, the numbers of students from some countries such as Pakistan and Egypt are still well below pre-9/11 levels, and competition for the best young talent remains fierce. “So we cannot afford to be complacent about the turnaround,” she says.