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FASTR is the new FRPAA

On February 14, 2013 the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House and Senate — Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and cosponsor Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Senate bill, S. 350  and Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA) and cosponsors Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS) introduced  the House bill, H.R. 708.

While this bipartisan legislation has a new name, the language of the bill is almost identical to that of Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), introduced in the last congress.

If passed, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would:

  • Require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million to develop a policy to ensure researchers submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript 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.

In essence, this legislation would advance and expand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy implemented in 2008 which requires public access to taxpayer-funded research to an additional 11 agencies.

In his press release, Congressman Doyle stated that “This bill will give the American people greater access to the important scientific research results they’ve paid for”. To thank Congressman Doyle, the ALA signed on to a letter (pdf) expressing gratitude for hisleadership in introducing the Fair Access to Science and Technology Act, and for [his] long-standing commitment to the success of crucial public access policies”.

The ALA has long supported greater access to non-classified government information and these bills would make it possible for librarians and the public at large to view greater amounts of government research at no additional cost.  ALA is working with Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), (for which ALA is a member) to advocate on behalf of legislation that calls for expanding public access to federally funded research.

Please take the time to thank those who have already signed on to support FASTR and use the ALA’s Legislative Action Center to ask your representatives to cosponsor the bills.

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Jessica McGilvray

Jessica McGilvray is a former member of the Washington Office government relations team.

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