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Call to action: Tell Congress you support the Federal Research Public Access Act

Published Apr 16, 2010

Yesterday (April 15), Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (HR 5037), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies.

All supporters of public access – universities and colleges, researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, consumers, individuals, and others – are asked to ACT NOW to support this bill. See below for actions you can take.

Now before both the House of Representatives and the Senate, FRPAA 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 interoperability and public accessibility, and have provisions for 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.

FRPAA 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 by private funders like the Wellcome Trust and campuses such as Harvard, MIT, and the University of Kansas. The bill also reflects the Administration’s recent expression of interest in the potential implementation of public access policies across U.S. science and technology agencies – as indicated by the call for public comment issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which closed in January.

Detailed information about the Federal Research Public Access Act is available at

Here’s how you can help support this legislation:

  1. Send thanks to the Bill’s sponsors, also through the ATA Action Center.
  2. Ask your representatives in Congress to co-sponsor H.R.5037 or S.1373. Act now through the ATA Legislative Action Center.
  3. Express your organization’s support to Congress for public access to taxpayer-funded research and for this bill. Send a copy of your letter to sparc [at] arl [dot] org.
  4. Issue a public statement of support from your organization and share it widely with members, colleagues, and the media. Send a copy to sparc [at] arl [dot] org to be featured on the FRPAA Web site.
  5. Share news about this bill with friends and colleagues.
  6. Post the “I support taxpayer access” banner on your Web site.
  7. See the ATA Web site at for more ways you can support public access to publicly funded research and this bill.

As always, thank you for your support and continued persistence in supporting public access to publicly funded research in the United States. Constituent voices make an unparalleled difference on Capitol Hill.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

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


28 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Dan Bowen
Apr 20, 2010 8:29pm [ 1 ]

Wonderful! As an amateur scientist I often go out of my way to show research evidence to friends and acquaintances. Most of the time the search for the real evidence ends at a scientific journal site abstract asking for money to view the evidence. I can't even teach people how to tell if a study was conducted properly when I (nor they) can even see the details!

Tim Wang
Apr 20, 2010 10:11pm [ 2 ]

The Federal Research Public Access Act is a good idea. Research that is fully or partially funded by public funds should be freely disseminated. Everyone should be able to access scientific research that is funded by the government.

Aaron Nesser
Apr 20, 2010 10:14pm [ 3 ]

I'm a college student in Biology. I regularly use the internet to find primary research. Many of the most important scientific articles - ones containing the most groundbreaking work are not available for free. It seems only right to make these papers and other freely available in order to promote good research rather than "wiki" research, which I see too often from my peers.

Ralph C. Merkle
Apr 20, 2010 10:37pm [ 4 ]

I fully support public access to any Federally funded research.

I wish to thank all those who made the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 possible.

Ian Higginson
Apr 20, 2010 11:12pm [ 5 ]

This is an excellent concept that will put cutting-edge research into the hands of countless students, professionals, and interested laypersons. As a graduate student, any service that provides my colleagues and I easier access to peer-reviewed journal publications is truly invaluable. Whatever costs incurred by this legislation, it will no doubt be returned many-fold through the societal contributions directly resulting from providing this information access to the yearning scientific minds of tomorrow.

spencer coffin
Apr 20, 2010 11:17pm [ 6 ]

If we're paying for it, we should get it.

Owen Walton
Apr 20, 2010 11:18pm [ 7 ]

It is vital that safeguards be put in place to keep government-funded publications, whether research or legal code, easily accessible to our citizenry. This is one of the matrices that supports civic involvement, the keystone of our system of government. Please support this effort to ensure immediate and unbroken access to research by the people who paid for it, the US taxpayer.

Jeremy Selan
Apr 20, 2010 11:59pm [ 8 ]

I think this is a fantastic idea, and a step in the right direction!

Mike Josic
Apr 20, 2010 11:59pm [ 9 ]

I support this legislation. Making the results of publicly funded research available will have a significant impact on the entrepreneurial drive of many Americans. Thank you.

Matthew Giarra
Apr 20, 2010 11:59pm [ 10 ]

As a Ph.D. student and research engineer, I am perpetually frustrated by the difficulty of obtaining peer-reviewed literature that is outside of my school's journal subscriptions. Scientific progress depends on the open exchange of information among researchers. Please pass this bill so that the seeds of knowledge planted in journals may more easily blossom into real technology through simplified, streamlined access to technical literature.

Bruce Parsons
Apr 21, 2010 12:58am [ 11 ]

seems reasonable

Jim Zhang
Apr 21, 2010 1:30am [ 12 ]

definitely support

Daniel Woodman
Apr 21, 2010 1:48am [ 13 ]

This research database will save lives. And some things are worse than death. Please pass this Bill, I am a permanently disabled victim of statistical fraud perpetrated by a number of different drug design corporations. Without taxpayer access to the totality of available research, informed consent is just a legal fiction.

Apr 21, 2010 6:05am [ 14 ]

In regard to this proposed bill, just the manuscripts of published results are to be made public. I think you're asking whether or not someone can patent their discoveries if they were made under government funding. If that's your question then I don't know the answer, but would love to and hope someone else will chime in.

Garrett Hoemmen
Apr 21, 2010 9:11am [ 15 ]


Dr. Paul Patton
Apr 21, 2010 9:22am [ 16 ]

As a scientist and educator, I strongly support open access publishing. I believe that the results of publicly funded research and scholarship should be freely and easily available to the public.

gary Demos
Apr 21, 2010 10:06am [ 17 ]

Having relatively objective accurate information is one of the basic criteria for making good decisions.

Matt Chaney
Apr 21, 2010 11:18am [ 18 ]

I'm miffed that we have to ask for something like public access to research developed at public expense. Is it not possible for people to do the right thing without there needing to be a ground swell of public support for it? Or are we to always assume and expect as a species that those in power will always favor special interests instead?

Tyler Wilkinson
Apr 21, 2010 4:08pm [ 19 ]

I support this bill. Please support it for me.

Thank you,

Tasneem Watts
Apr 21, 2010 4:38pm [ 20 ]

Just as Andrew Carnegie helped build libraries all over the U.S. in the early 1900s, based on his belief in public access to books & information, today's Americans need digital access even more. With the economy unsteady, and with many Americans out of work, digital access in public libraries is their only link to the changing world. Everyday, we help these people get past the "digital divide."

Bart Selman
Apr 21, 2010 11:34pm [ 21 ]

Great idea! Being in academia, I have wondered for quite a while why the results of tax payer funded research was not publicly available. This indeed needs to change, and by law is the way to do it! The tax payer certainly owns the results, not publishers!

-- Prof. Bart Selman, Cornell University.

David W. Etherington
Apr 22, 2010 11:07am [ 22 ]

Journals shouldn't be able to restrict access to research taxpayers have funded.

Cheryl Jennett
Jun 15, 2010 2:14pm [ 23 ]

Allow tax payer funded research to be accessible by tax payers.

Dr. Sarma S. Tanuku
Jun 18, 2010 8:51am [ 24 ]

I fell it's absolutely essential that all the research performed with tax payer dollars must be available to any interested individual by way of internet. An educated consumer is an enlightened consumer. It's only by enlightening the public that you rein in the ever growing health care costs.

Mike Hennenfent
Jun 30, 2010 7:03am [ 25 ]

I am for public dissemination of taxpayer funded research as soon as it can be done.

Sincerely, I am for dissemination of public funded research

Mike Hennenfent President, Prostatitis Foundation 1063 30th Street Smithshire, Illinois 61478 Patient voice mail 309 325 7184 Fax 309 325 7189

Shannon Johnson, Ph.D.
Jul 7, 2010 4:08pm [ 26 ]

Our tax dollars pay for most of the scientific research that occurs in this country, it only makes sense that those who pay for the work have access to it

richard plumb
Jul 8, 2010 6:43pm [ 27 ]

I feel that as a tax-paying citizen, I am deprived of this information for reasons beyond my understanding. Can anyone clarify this for me?

Jun 26, 2011 7:52pm [ 28 ]

"Our tax dollars pay for most of the scientific research that occurs in this country, it only makes sense that those who pay for the work have access to it"


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