Alliance for Taxpayer Access

http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/action/FASTR_calltoaction.shtml

Call to action: Tell Congress you support the Bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR)

On March 18, 2015, Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS), and Lofgren (D-CA) introduced S. 779/H.R. 1477, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act, a bill that will accelerate scientific discovery and fuel innovation by making articles reporting on publicly funded scientific research freely accessible online for anyone to read and build upon.

FASTR will accelerate science, fuel innovation, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans and those around the world. This is an achievable goal – today. Now is the time to push for this groundbreaking legislation, and let Congress know that the public deserves access to the research that they paid for.

FASTR remains an important marker in Congress; portions of the language from the legislation were included in the recent FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act, requiring Agencies under the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to ensure that articles resulting from their funded research be made available to the public no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The legislation has also recently served a model for proposed state-level bills, most notably in New York and California. 

 

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Act now: Let Congress know you support FASTR

Raise awareness of and build support for FASTR

Background

Every year, the federal government funds over sixty billion dollars in basic and applied research. Most of this funding is concentrated within 11 departments/agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Energy). This research results in a significant number of articles being published each year – approximately 100,000 papers are published annually as result of NIH funding alone. 

Because U.S. taxpayers underwrite this research, they have a right to expect that its dissemination and use will be maximized, and that they will have access to articles reporting on the results. The Internet has revolutionized information sharing and has made it possible to make the latest advances freely available to every researcher, student, teacher, entrepreneur, business owner and citizen so that the results can be read and built upon as efficiently as possible.

Now before both the House of Representatives and the Senate, FASTR would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for public accessibility and productive reuse of digital articles, and have provisions for interoperability and long-term archiving.

The bill specifically covers 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.

FASTR reflects the growing trend among funding agencies – and college and university campuses – to leverage their investment in the conduct of research by maximizing the dissemination of results. It follows the successful path forged by the NIH’s Public Access Policy, as well as the growing trend in adoption of similar policies by international funders such as the Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK), private funders such as the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, dozens of U.S. Institutions, such as Harvard, MIT, and the University of Kansas. 

FASTR will make these articles freely available for all potential users to read and ensure that articles can be fully used in the digital environment, enabling the use of new computational analysis tools that promise to revolutionize the research process.

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