New Public Access Legislation Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

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September 23, 2013

Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) have introduced new legislation focused on the issue of public access to publicly funded research results.  The sponsors of the “Public Access to Public Science (PAPS) Act” have indicated that the legislation is intended to build on the recently issued White House OSTP Directive on Public Access, and to codify that language into legislation for those agencies under the jurisdiction of the House Science Committee. Those agencies include: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Weather Service (NWS). 

As you know, SPARC supports the OSTP Directive, and supports the intent of this proposed legislation. However, we continue to believe that any effective public access policy must include explicit provisions that guarantee the public full, fast access to and use of digital articles resulting from federally funded research.

To that end, SPARC has endorsed  - and continues to fully support - legislation that includes key provisions that we believe best provide these assurances. The bi-partisan, bi-cameral Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act specifically calls for:

  • Immediate deposit of articles to federally owned or approved repositories in formats and under terms that enable their productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies;
  • A maximum embargo period of six months; and
  • An explicit statement of the terms of use applicable to articles to ensure that their full productive reuse is enabled.

We believe that these provisions in FASTR (H.R. 708/S. 350) will enable the public to realize the full potential of public access to accelerate scientific research, to generate innovation, and spur economic growth and job creation.

We appreciate the growing support for advancing the issue of ensuring access to publicly funded research. SPARC will continue to work for the passage of FASTR, and looks forward to having the opportunity to work with Reps. Sensenbrenner and Johnson to further strengthen this new proposed legislation.