SPARC Statement on Public Access Provisions in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act – SPARC

“We are pleased to see the U.S. Senate endorse language that strongly supports providing faster access to taxpayer-funded research results with today’s passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260). 

Section 2527 of the bill, formerly the Endless Frontier Act, (titled “Basic Research”) includes language originally written by Senator Wyden and supported by Senator Paul that directs federal agencies funding more than $100 million annually in research grants to develop a policy that provides for free online public access to federally-funded research “not later than 12 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals, preferably sooner.” 

The bill also provides important guidance that will maximize the impact of federally-funded research by ensuring that final author manuscripts reporting on taxpayer funded research are:

Deposited into federally designated or maintained repositories;
Made available in open and machine readable formats; 
Made available under licenses that enable productive reuse and computational analysis; and
Housed in repositories that ensure interoperability and long-term preservation. …”

Europe Speeds Ahead on Open Access: 2018 in Review | Electronic Frontier Foundation

“Plan S reflects a more aggressive open access policy than FASTR does. FASTR requires that government agencies that fund scientific research require grantees to make their papers available to the public within a year of publication; the original publication can happen in a traditional, closed journal. (Most U.S. government agencies already have that requirement under a 2013 White House memo.)

Plan S takes that much further, requiring grantees to publish their research in an open access journal or repository from day one. What’s more, grantees must publish their papers under an open license allowing others to share and reuse them. In discussions on open access laws, EFF has long urged lawmakers to consider including open licensing mandates. Allowing the public to read the research is a great first step, but allowing the public to reuse and adapt it (even commercially) unlocks its true economic and educational potential. We hope to see more similarly strong open access reforms, both in the U.S. and around the world….”

California Bill Is a Win for Access to Scientific Research

“The California legislature just scored a huge win in the fight for open access to scientific research. Now it’s up to Governor Jerry Brown to sign it. Under A.B. 2192—which passed both houses unanimously—all peer-reviewed, scientific research funded by the state of California would be made available to the public no later than one year after publication. There’s a similar law on the books in California right now, but it only applies to research funded by the Department of Public Health, and it’s set to expire in 2020. A.B. 2192 would extend it indefinitely and expand it to cover research funded by any state agency.”

Making Knowledge Free Can Cost You Your Freedom – Bloomberg

“Seven years ago, a Kazakhstani graduate student named Alexandra Elbakyan started a website with a seemingly innocuous goal: Make most of the world’s research freely available to anyone with internet access. It’s a sad reflection on the state of scientific publishing that she is now a fugitive hiding in Russia. Most people agree that if the public funds scientific research, it should also have free access to the results. …The publishers have responded with legal action. Last year, Elsevier won $15 million in damages for copyright infringement. More recently, a Virginia court awarded the American Chemical Society $4.8 million and ordered internet search engines, web hosting sites and service providers to stop facilitating Sci-Hub activities….”

Recent Developments in US Federal Open Access Policies: FASTR Moves Slower – Copyright Clearance Center

“On July 26, H.R. 3427, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), was reintroduced in the US House of Representatives by Michael Doyle [D-PA-14]. This was followed by a similar bill in the Senate, S. 1701, reintroduced there on August 2 by Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX]. Essentially similar versions of these bills have been placed in the legislative hopper for three sessions now, introduced by mostly the same Senators and Representatives.

In 2013, under the Obama Administration, the introduction of FASTR was accompanied by an Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policy guidance memorandum which required all Federal agencies with annual R&D award budgets over $100 million to develop plans to support “increased public access.””

Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Bill to Overhaul Federal Research Grant System | American Institute of Physics

“On Oct. 18, Paul introduced the “BASIC Research Act,” which would make several changes to peer review processes and would broaden public access requirements for grant applications and research results….In addition, the bill incorporates almost all of the “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act” …”

Act Now to Pass the FASTR Act – SPARC

“Below are ways in which you can help pass FASTR and spread the word about the positive effects this legislation will have on research, the academic community, entrepreneuers, students, and the general public. Now is the time to reach out to your Members of Congress and tell them at they should support FASTR!”

Notes on the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act – Harvard Open Access Project

“The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act is the successor to the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). FRPAA had been introduced in three earlier sessions of Congress (May 2006, April 2009, and February 2012) but never came up for a vote. In the 113th Congress, Congressional supporters of OA decided to introduce a modified bill. The result is FASTR, a strengthened version of FRPAA. Both bills would require open access (OA) to peer-reviewed manuscripts of articles reporting the results of federally-funded research….”

Open Access Policies and Academic Freedom: Understanding and Addressing Conflicts

Abstract:  The adoption of open access (OA) policies that require participation rather than request it is often accompanied by concerns about whether such mandates violate researchers’ academic freedoms. This issue has not been well explored, particularly in the Canadian context. However the recent adoption of an OA policy from Canada’s major funding agencies and the development of the Fair access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) in the United States has made addressing the issue of academic freedom and OA policies an important issue in academic institutions. This paper will investigate the relationship between OA mandates and academic freedom with the context of the recent OA policy at the University of Windsor as a point of reference. While this investigation concludes that adopting OA policies that require faculty participation at the institutional level should not be an issue of academic freedom, it is important to understand the varied factors that contribute to this tension. This includes misunderstandings about journal based (gold) and repository based (green) OA, growing discontent about increased managerialism in universities and commercialization of research, as well as potential vagueness within collective agreements’ language regarding academic freedom and publication. Despite these potential roadblocks, a case can be made that OA policies are not in conflict with academic freedom given they do not produce the harms that academic freedom is intended to protect.

It’s Not Too Late. Let’s Pass an Open Access Law This Year.

Publicly Funded Research Should Be Open to the Public

When the public pays for research, the public should have free access to that research. You shouldn’t have to buy expensive journal subscriptions or academic database access in order to read research that was paid for with federal funding. That’s the simple premise of FASTR, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S. 779, H.R. 1477). As we near the end of the 2015-16 session of Congress, the clock is ticking for FASTR.

Under FASTR, every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on grants for research would be required to adopt an open access policy. Although the bill gives each agency some flexibility to develop a policy appropriate to the types of research it funds, each one would require that published research be available to the public no later than 12 months after publication.

A previous version of FASTR was first introduced in 2013. FASTR has strong support on both sides of the aisle, but it still hasn’t come up for a vote in either chamber of Congress.

This year, the stakes are higher than ever. Federally funded research is kept in the open today by a 2013 White House memo. With a new administration just months away, it’s essential that Congress secure those provisions by passing FASTR. Priorities will change with future administrations, but by locking FASTR’s provisions into law, we can ensure that that U.S. government continues to make publicly funded research available to the public for generations to come.

Now is the time. If you believe in open access to publicly funded research, then please take a moment to write your members of Congress and urge them to pass FASTR.

EFF is proud to participate in Open Access Week. Check back all week for opportunities to get involved with the fight for open access.

Take ActionTell Congress to pass FASTR.

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It’s Not Too Late. Let’s Pass an Open Access Law This Year. | Electronic Frontier Foundation

“When the public pays for research, the public should have free access to that research. You shouldn’t have to buy expensive journal subscriptions or academic database access in order to read research that was paid for with federal funding. That’s the simple premise of FASTR, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S. 779H.R. 1477). As we near the end of the 2015-16 session of Congress, the clock is ticking for FASTR.”

A Continuing Resolution and Other Science-Related Legislation

“The Congress has been considering legislation that would set specific guidelines for scholarly publications. The legislation, called Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), S. 779 in the Senate and H.R. 1477 in the House, aims to improve access to tax-payer funded research results. S. 779 was passed favorably by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. H.R. 1477 has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, but no markup is currently scheduled….”

Senate Homeland Security Committee Issues Report on Fair Access to Science, Technology Research Act

This article is free of charge but users must request it by email. Excerpt: “The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a report (S.Rpt. 114-224) on legislation (S. 779 [FASTR]) to provide for Federal agencies to develop public access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that agency or from funds administered by that agency. The report was advanced by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on March 8….CBO estimates that implementing S. 779 would not have a significant federal cost. The bill could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net increase in spending by those agencies would not be significant. Enacting S. 779 would not affect revenues. Most of the provisions of the bill would codify and expand current policies and practices of federal agencies. A memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy dated February 22, 2013, included a requirement that agencies develop and implement plans to make research funded by the federal government more widely available to the public. Consequently, CBO estimates that implementing this bill would not significantly increase the workload or administrative costs of federal agencies. S. 779 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Any costs incurred by public entities, such as public universities and research institutions participating in federal research programs would be incurred as conditions of receiving federal assistance….”