Support the Federal Research Public Access Act, recently introduced in House

On April 15, 2010, Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (H.R. 5037), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by 11 U.S. federal agencies.  This bi-partisan supported bill mirrors the Senate version (S. 1373) introduced in June 2009.

Just (exactly) like, S. 1373,  H.R. 5037 requires federal agencies and departments with annual extramural research budgets of over $100 million to make available via the Internet the final articles resulting from research funded by U.S. taxpayers (the public) no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.  The manuscripts would be maintained and preserved in a digital archive, ensuring the research is available to the public.

Essentially, the bill would advance and expand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, which requires public access to taxpayer-funded research, to an additional 11 agencies. The ability to search and access the archive of non-classified research of these agencies and departments — from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation — would provide open online access to research. Undoubtedly, such an archive would allow librarians the ability to better assist library patrons with their information and research needs as well as allow the direct access by the public.

Without passage of this bill, taxpayer-funded research will continue to be inaccessible (without a fee) to those already funding it — the public. Additional information on H.R. 5037 and S. 1373 are available on the ALA website.

Please take this opportunity to write to your representative asking her/him to support and co-sponsor H.R. 5037.

Introduction of the bill in the House is indeed a sign of “good progress” toward open access to taxpayer-funded scholarly research.