Comments submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Public Access Policy Forum -- January 21, 2010
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) is a coalition of advocacy, 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 additional cost to the American public.
The diverse members of the coalition are committed to the general principle that American taxpayers are entitled to open access on the Internet to the articles that result from research funded by the U.S. government, and that facilitating broad access to these articles is an essential, inseparable component of our nation's investment in science. ATA members firmly believe that this (and other scientific information) should be shared in cost-effective ways that take advantage of the Internet, stimulate further discovery and innovation, and advance the translation of this knowledge into public benefits. Enhanced access and expanded sharing of information will lead to increased use of this information, and will deliver an accelerated return on the taxpayers' investment.
As 41 Nobel Prize-winning scientists recently wrote in an open letter to the U.S. Congress:
“For America to obtain an optimal return on our investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible… As the pursuit of science is increasingly conducted in a digital world, we need policies that ensure that the opportunities the Internet presents for new research tools and techniques to be employed can be fully exploited. The removal of access barriers and the enabling of expanded use of research findings has the potential to dramatically transform how we approach issues of vital importance to the public, such as biomedicine, climate change, and energy research.” (http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/supporters/scientists/nobelists_2009.shtml)
The Alliance supports the implementation of government-wide public access policies to facilitate the sharing of scientific results, and make this level of access a reality.
As a practical way forward, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access supports building upon the proven success of the public access policy implemented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which requires recipients of NIH funding to deposit articles resulting from their funded research into the agency’s online repository, so that they may be made openly accessible to the public no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.