The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act of 2013

Open access legislation has been introduced to the U.S. Congress. Called The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act of 2013, it has some way to go before becoming law.

The sponsors of FASTR argue that because tens of billions of government dollars result in tens of thousands of research papers annually – 90,000 from NIH funding alone – U.S. taxpayers have a right to expect that distribution and use of research results is maximized and that they have access to it.

It is proposed that federal agencies with research budgets of USD100 million or more will be required to implement a public access policy which includes: submitting an electronic copy of the final manuscript; Ensuring that the manuscript is preserved; Requiring that free, online access to each taxpayer-funded manuscript be available as soon as possible, and no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal; and that the public have the ability to fully use these articles in the digital environment.  A full description of what is proposed can be downloaded from Senator Ron Wyden’s website: http://www.wyden.senate.gov/download/fastr-act.

“Different Name, Same Boondoggle” was the reaction of the Association of American Publishers to FASTR who believe the act is “unnecessary and a waste of federal resources. AAP notes that FASTR is a rehashing of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which was introduced unsuccessfully into the last three Congresses. Further, AAP emphasizes that publishers’ efforts to provide high quality peer reviewed publications will be undermined.   Read the full AAP statement here: http://publishers.org/press/94/

Following the FASTR announcement, the White House added to the Open Access debate. Commenting on President Obama’s Directive, SPARC believes it is “a landmark Directive to ensure that the results of taxpayer-funded research – both articles and data – are made available to the general public to freely access and fully use.” Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, said “The Directive will accelerate scientific discovery, improve education, and empower entrepreneurs to translate research into commercial ventures and jobs. It’s good for our nation, our economy, and our future.”

The White House Directive affirms the principle that the public has a right to access the results of taxpayer-funded research and calls on all federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of USD100 million or more to provide free and timely online access to the results of that research. Articles reporting on the results of publicly funded scientific research must be made available after a 12 month embargo period. Read the full statement from SPARC here: http://www.arl.org/sparc/media/sparc-applauds-white-house-for-landmark-directive-.shtml