Legislation Promoting Public Access to Federally Funded Research Introduced

Today, members of the U.S. House and Senate introduced the “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013” or FASTR. The bill, similar to the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), includes provisions that would enable digital reuse of publicly funded research and would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by federal science and technology agencies. According to the Association of Research Libraries (of which UCSD is a member), provisions in this bill constitute an important step forward that reflects both how research is conducted and growing community practice. The Library hopes that you will contact your House and Senate delegations and ask that they co-sponsor FASTR.

FASTR would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts (or final published articles under certain circumstances) stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Within one year of enactment of FASTR, these agencies are to implement a public access policy and to the extent practicable, agencies should follow common procedures for the collection and deposition of research papers. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability, public accessibility and long-term preservation. An important change from past bills includes the need for agencies to provide “research papers…in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”

More from the UK: Activist Blasts Publishers of Scientific Journals

The British writer, environmental activist, and sometime academic George Monbiot has taken on the publishers of scientific journals. Monbiot’s article in the August 30th issue of The Guardian, * with the amusing but unfortunately vague headline “Academic Publishers Make Murdoch Look Like a Socialist,” specifically attacks the publishers Elsevier and Springer. (Its subtitle is “Academic publishers charge vast fees to access research paid for by us. Down with the knowledge monopoly racketeers.”) Monbiot has had several intelligent responses, including one from Noah Gray, an editor of Nature.

* Or read the article on Monbiot’s personal webpage, where it has the title “The Lairds of Learning.”