U.S. Representatives Introduce Bill Expanding Access to Federally Funded Research

Jul 26, 2017
Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today introduced legislation to increase the openness, transparency, and accessibility of publicly funded research results.
 
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would require federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
 
“This bill will give the public greater access to the scientific research they’ve paid for,” Representative Doyle said today. “It will promote greater collaboration among researchers in the sciences, accelerate scientific innovation and discovery, and give the public a greater return on their investment in scientific and technological research It’s a simple, effective way to increase the productivity of our nation’s researchers.”
 
 “The FASTR Act will bring tangible benefits to the American people in the form of transparency, accountability, and greater access to research they’ve already paid for,” Representative Yoder said. “Taxpayers are footing the bill for research across many disciplines, from biomedical science to new technology, but right now they can’t access the findings. We’re working to right this wrong so the private sector can more easily take ideas and concepts and turn them into innovation and economic growth.”
 
“Increased public access to federally funded research can be a powerful building block for future discoveries,” said Representative Lofgren. “This transparency can greatly accelerate other breakthroughs, encourage greater collaboration in research, and lead to faster commercialization, all of which benefit the economy, the public at large, and our nation’s competitive advantage.”
 
This legislation would unlock unclassified research funded by agencies like the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.
 
The bill builds on the success of the first U.S. mandate for public access to the published results of publicly funded research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented their public access policy.  It is estimated that approximately 90,000 papers are published each year with grant support from NIH, and more than 4 million are now available online
 
Specifically, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act would:
 
Require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more, whether funded totally or partially by a government department or agency, to submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript that has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Ensure that the manuscript is preserved in a stable digital repository maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.
Require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Require agencies to examine whether introducing open licensing options for research papers they make publicly available as a result of the public access policy would promote productive reuse and computational analysis of those research papers.
 
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act would leverage federal investments in scientific research by increasing public access to information that promises to stimulate scientific and technological innovation.
 
 
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