ACRL Applauds Introduction of “The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act”

On Thursday February 14, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This bi-cameral and bipartisan legislation 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. In addition to requiring greater access, the legislation would require agencies to examine whether introducing open licensing options for research papers they make publicly available would promote productive reuse and computational analysis of those research papers.

ACRL joined other national and regional library, publishing, research and advocacy organizations in a letter thanking members of Congress who introduced the bills: U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). ACRL has long supported legislation that would provide public access to federally funded research, and it is the organization’s top legislative priority.

“I am particularly pleased that this legislation addresses both greater access to research and greater reuse through open licensing,” said ACRL President Steven J. Bell, associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University. “As scholars undertake new research, it is crucial to build on the works of others who came before. Open licensing is an important step towards a more open system of scholarship as it facilitates subsequent reshaping into new scholarship.”  Bell continued, “I am looking forward to attending National Library Legislative Day in May so that I can directly advocate for FASTR with my congressional representatives, and I encourage other academic librarians to join me in taking our message to the Capitol.”

FASTR builds on the successful public access policy at the National Institutes of Health and would apply to 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.

One of ACRL’s three strategic goals is that librarians accelerate the transition to a more open system of scholarship, and individual librarian support of this legislation will further that goal. Our partners at SPARC have developed Campus FAQs and background materials to assist librarians in supporting this legislation. The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has issued a Call to Action in their legislative action center that makes it easy to connect with your members of Congress. Stay tuned for more on how you can support this legislation.