The Federal Research Public Works Act (FRPAA) of 2012, H.R. 4004, gained traction this week in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kicking off the week on Monday Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) held a Congressional briefing on the issue of public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research. Two experts presented on the topic, Dr. Neil Thakur from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Elliott Maxwell from the Committee for Economic Development, and Heather Joseph of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) moderated the discussion. Additional information on the briefing is available here.
On Tuesday, FRPAA picked up a whopping 24 additional co-sponsors (yes, both democrats and republicans) – joining Rep. Mike Doyle (D- PA), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), the original co-sponsors who introduced the bill. Among the additional co-sponsors backing the bill was Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who was presented with the 2012 James Madison Award by the American Library Association (ALA) during the annual Freedom of Information Day event held here in Washington, DC on March 16. Rep. Lofgren was recognized for her work on supporting a wide range of library-related issues, including open access and FRPAA legislation.
Then on Thursday the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight added to its schedule a hearing for March 29 that has been moved up to 9:30 a.m.
at 10:00 a.m. on Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests. Additional information about the upcoming hearing, including the list of witnesses and a link to the webcast, is available here.
The ALA has a strong history of support for FRPAA legislation – as it builds on the success of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy implemented in 2008. Passage of H.R. 4004 and its companion in the Senate, S. 2096, would be big step in the right direction by expanding the amount of research made available and proving access to it without additional charge to us, the taxpayers. Background on this legislation is available on the ALA website.
Associate Director, Office of Government Relations
American Library Association