FRPAA Introduced in House and Senate: Bipartisan measure supports public access to research

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For immediate release 
February 9, 2012


For more information, contact:

Andrea Brusca Higginbotham
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121
andrea [at] arl [dot] org 

Bipartisan measure supports public access to research to fuel innovation and economic growth

Federal Research Public Access Act introduced into U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Washington, DC – In a move that signals the growing momentum toward openness, transparency, and accessibility to publicly funded information, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (FRPAA) has been introduced today in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Wyden (D-OR), and Hutchison (R-TX) and in the House by Reps. Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS) and Clay (D-MO).

The proposed bill would build on the success of the first U.S. mandate for public access to the published results of publicly funded research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and require federal agencies to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on the results of the United States’ $60 billion in publicly funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Fast and open access is essential for the translation of research data and publications into healthcare advances in the current mega-data age,” said Stephen Friend MD PhD, President and Co-Founder of Sage Bionetworks. “We have the power now to communicate, collaborate, and innovate online in ways that were previously unimaginable. I applaud the sponsors of the Federal Research Public Access Act for their insight and commitment to ensuring the kind of access that scientists in the academic and commercial sector need in order to reap the full benefits of the public investment in biomedical research.”

The Federal Research Public Access Act is designed to unlock unclassified research funded by agencies including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

The introduction of FRPAA follows closely on the heels of a recent White House Office of Science and Technology Policy request for public comment on mechanisms that would leverage federal investments in scientific research and to stimulate scientific progress and spur technological innovation and competitiveness.

“This legislation underscores the opportunity we have to use digital technology to operate more efficiently, and to speed the pace of innovation,” added Elliot Schwartz, Vice President for Economic Studies at the Committee for Economic Development. “In this economy, policymakers increasingly recognize the need to fully leverage our collective investment in research. Opening access to the results ensures that every dollar spent on science is maximized.”

The introduction of this legislation was also welcomed by leaders in the higher education community, who recognize this legislation helps to ensure the United States is positioned to continue to fuel education and innovation.

"Advancing research that enriches and improves lives is at the heart of the mission of higher education institutions in this country," said R. Michael Tanner, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, "Communication of the results of this research is a central component of our Universities’ public purpose. The current NIH policy has successfully balanced interests while expanding public access to research results, and other federal funding agencies should do likewise.”

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access thanks and congratulates Senators Cornyn, Wyden, and Hutchison and Representatives Doyle, Yoder, and Clay for championing this pivotal legislation, and calls on organizations and individuals to write in support of the bill through the Web site at

For more information about the Federal Research Public Access Act and the broad coalition that supports its passage, visit


The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing organizations that supports open public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at