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New legislation would protect your right to research

The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act would ensure taxpayers are able to freely access the results of taxpayer-funded research.

ALA applauds the introduction of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR). Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan legislation as H.R. 3427 yesterday.

FASTR would ensure that, when taxpayers fund scientific research, they are able to freely access the results of that research. Every federal agency that significantly funds research would have to adopt a policy to provide for free, online public access to research articles resulting from that public funding.

As our colleagues at SPARC explain:

The government funds research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries resulting from that research will advance science, stimulate innovation, grow the economy, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans. The Internet makes it possible to advance these goals by providing public online access to federally funded research and has revolutionized information sharing by enabling prompt sharing of the latest advances with every scientist, physician, educator, entrepreneur and citizen.

FASTR would build on the law, first signed by then-President George W. Bush, that created the National Institutes of Health’s Public Access Policy. Subsequently, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under then-President Barack Obama directed other agencies to adopt similar plans to make their research transparent. FASTR would codify and strengthen that directive and speed up public access to this important information.

ALA has supported similar legislation over time, including S. 779 by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the previous Congress. (As a note, Sen. Cornyn was the 2015 recipient of ALA’s James Madison Award to honor champions of public access to government information, and Rep. Lofgren received the award in 2012.)

ALA welcomes the growing bipartisan recognition that public access to information accelerates innovation and encourages Congress to “move FASTR.”

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Gavin Baker

Gavin Baker is a deputy director of Public Policy and Government Relations. Gavin earned his M.S. in library and information studies from Florida State University and his B.A. in political science from the University of Florida.

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