home > issues > federal research public access act > who supports this > new england university presidents back bill for public access


Published Nov 23, 2009

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org

Washington, DC – The Presidents of six public universities in New England have issued a letter of support for the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373), demonstrating that commitment to public access to publicly funded research resides at the top-most level of research institution administration. Together, these six land-grant universities enroll over 100,000 students, confer ~17% of the bachelor’s and 20% of the doctoral degrees in New England, and invest more than $700 million annually on research with the support of federal grants.

The Presidents’ letter addressed to Senator Lieberman on November 20th reads, in part:

Dissemination of results is an essential component of the land-grant tradition of research and of our investment in science. We share your concern that far too often the results of research funded by the U.S. government are not broadly available to researchers, scientists, and members of the public. In addition to ensuring that this research is made available quickly, it is also critical that the published information remain broadly available for future use. We are pleased to see that your bill is designed to support both early, as well as long-term, access to scientific research results.

Online public access to publicly funded research facilitates the candid discussion needed to accelerate research, share knowledge, improve treatment of diseases, and increase human understanding. Our nation is making important progress in advancing this goal, enacting both the first U.S. requirement for public access to publicly funded research through the National Institutes of Health in 2008 – promising to make openly available, after an embargo, the results of $29 billion in taxpayer-funded research – and several campus-based policies for research access.  

Your bill is a much-needed step in truly realizing open, public access to research, and in enabling our institutions’ capacities for building upon prior findings and accelerating the pace of discovery. We look forward to working with you to secure the bill’s passage.

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The letter, available in full text at, is signed by the Presidents of the University of Connecticut, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, and University of Vermont.

The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) was introduced by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) to require those eleven federal agencies with extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to implement policies that deliver timely, free, online access to the published results of the research they fund. The Act proposes to build upon the success of the first U.S. requirement for public access to publicly funded research (through the National Institutes of Health) and would require that the results of taxpayer-funded research be made available no later than six months after publication in a journal.

The New England Presidents’ letter is one of many being issued in strong support of the Federal Research Public Access Act from within the higher education community. Forty one Nobel Prize-winning scientists, the presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges, the chief academic and research officers from universities in the Western states, and individual institutions have recently voiced their commitment to public access to research and the success of this bill.

The Federal Research Public Access Act is also supported by: 90 research, advocacy, publishing, and student organizations that represent the Alliance for Taxpayer Access; (representing,, Bloomberg, eBay, Google, Yahoo!, and Wikipedia, as well as state and local ISPs); the Rockefeller University Press; OXFAM; and major national and regional research organizations. For details, visit

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access 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, visit


The Alliance for Taxpayer Access 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 extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at

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