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Update on activities related to public access (May 2010)

Published May 21, 2010

Dear ATA members,

As attention to the issue of public access to the results of federally funded research continues to grow on Capitol Hill and beyond, we wanted to take a moment to update you on the latest developments in this arena. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Areas of current activity include:

** The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) – On April 15, Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced H.R. 5037 into the House of Representatives. The bill has a suite of bipartisan co-sponsors and has been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  Rep. Doyle spoke at a recent Alliance for Taxpayer Access press conference, and indicated he hopes to move the bill forward before the end of this session of Congress.

Senator Cornyn continues to champion the Senate version of FRPAA, and this week sent a letter to the University of North Texas, underscoring his commitment to this vital issue (http://openaccess.unt.edu/sites/default/files/05-10/SenatorJohnCornyn_UNT_OASymosium_18May2010.pdf).  

Support in the higher education community continues to grow, with 116 higher education leaders (presidents, provosts, chancellors, and vice chancellors) currently on record as signing letters of support for FRPAA (http://www.arl.org/sparc/advocacy/frpaa/institutions.shtml). If you or your institution has not yet written to Congress to express your support and thanks, we encourage you to do so now (http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/action/action_frpaa/10-0416.shtml).  

** White House Request for Information – The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a call for public comment on the potential implementation of public access policies across U.S. science agencies, which concluded at the end of January. According to OSTP, the topic remains an issue of central interest to the Administration and is being actively considered as part of the ongoing Open Government initiative.

The White House has indicated that its Interagency Working Group on Information and Innovation (under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council) is the locus of its activities on this issue.

OSTP is still actively digesting the responses from the public comment process, and working on a summary paper and recommendations on various decision points for the Interagency Working Group to consider.

** America COMPETES – Language related to public access to the results publicly funded research (both articles and data) is also being considered in the House of Representatives as part of the evolving America COMPETES Act (H.R. 5116). The Senate version of the bill is under development, and we’ll keep you apprised as details become available.

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We’re very pleased with the increasingly high profile of the issue of ensuring public access to the results of publicly funded research, and will continue to work to make sure you stay as up-to-date as possible as the pace of activity increases, as well.

For more information about any of these developments, please visit the SPARC Web site at http://www.arl.org/sparc/advocacy and the Web site of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (http://www.taxpayeraccess.org). As always, we’d be pleased to hear from you with any questions you may have.

With best wishes,

Heather Joseph
Spokesperson for the Alliance and Executive Director of SPARC
Telephone: (202) 296-2296
Email: heather [at] arl [dot] org

Jennifer McLennan
Director of Programs & Operations, SPARC
Telephone: (202) 296-2296 ext. 121
Email: jennifer [at] arl [dot] org

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