Federal Research Public Access Act 2006

Issues - Federal Research Public Access Act Announcement

A proposal to require open public access to research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies

Sponsors Cornyn (R-TX) and Lieberman (I-CT) (2006)

Every year, the federal government funds tens of billions of 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), Department of Energy).  The research results typically are reported in articles published in a wide variety of academic journals.  From NIH funding alone, it is estimated that about 65,000 papers are published each year.

Because U.S. taxpayers underwrite this research, they have a right to expect that its dissemination and use will be maximized, and that they themselves will have access to it.  If this information is shared with all potential users, it will advance science and improve the lives and welfare of people of the United States and the world.  This is an achievable goal - today.  The Internet has revolutionized information sharing and has made it possible to make the latest advances promptly available to every scientist, physician, educator, and citizen at their homes, schools, or libraries.

The Federal Research Public Access Act is awaiting reintroduction in the 110th Congress.


May 1, 2007

Resolution in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 [PDF] from Trinity University Association of Student Representatives

Resolution in support of taxpayer access to federally funded research [PDF] from the Association of Students of Oberlin College

April 27, 2007

Access For All from Harvard University’s student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson

March 14, 2007

Sign & Promote New Public Access Petition

February 21, 2007

Health Groups Urge Senators to Support On-line Access to Taxpayer Funded Medical Research [.DOC]

February 6, 2007

Major society publisher announces support for public access to scientific literature

February 1, 2007

Students Rally for Access to Publicly Funded Research
Campuses declare “National Day of Action” in support of federal legislation

January 30, 2007

Soil scientists renew the call for broader access to publicly funded research


109th Congress:

Letters of support sent through Progressive Secretary in 2006:
3,135 (by 3,042 individuals)

November 16, 2006

Tax-funded research should be made available to those in need, from San Jose State University’s student newspaper, The Spartan Daily

November 13, 2006

Deconstructing the Arguments Against Public Access by Dr. Gary Ward, Newsletter of the American Society for Cell Biology. [PDF]

September 26, 2006

Chemistry Professor Writes to Support Federal Research Public Access Act

September 19, 2006

New England Provosts Call for Broader Access to Publicly Funded Research.

September 6, 2006

53 College Presidents Lead Newest Show of Support for Public Access Act

Momentum for Open Access Research (Inside Higher Ed)

August 22, 2006

SPARC calls for Higher Ed leaders to express their support - quickly and easily through an online form.

August 21, 2006

“Publish or Perish” author Stevan Harnad, winner of the English-language category prize in the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF2006) Poetry Competition sponsored by the Andrea von Braun Stiftung has donated his prize to support ATA’s efforts for the Federal Research Public Access Act. In appreciation, we have made the poem available here. Thanks Stevan!

August 3, 2006

University Support for Public Access Act Expands - Library groups commend twenty-three provosts for joining recent surge of support (August 3, 2006) [PDF]

More Universities Push for Passage of Open-Access Legislation in Senate (Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog)

Read more of the media coverage on this issue.

July 31, 2006

Consumer Groups Support Public Access Act - Consumers Union, Consumer Project on Technology and others support bill requiring key federal funders to post research on the Internet

July 28, 2006

25 University Provosts issue an open letter “that strongly backs” the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. (Inside Higher Ed)

Read the letter.

July 20, 2006

Progressive Secretary has introduced a letter-writing campaign that helps you contact your senators and representative by email to express support for the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006.

More library groups endorse FRPAA: Public Library Association and GODORT.

June 13, 2006

Consumer groups express support for access to taxpayer-funded research.

June 6, 2006

Students speak out. University of Florida Student Senate passes a resolution in support of the Act.

May 30, 2006

Take advantage of these templates to show your support for the Act:

May 15, 2006

Bill demands free public access to science reports - Articles about federally funded research would have to appear online 6 months after publication (

(View more media coverage on this issue)

May 11, 2006

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) joins as the first co-sponsor of the bill.

NIH Has Little to Celebrate on 1st Anniversary of Its Open-Access Policy, but Changes May Be on Way (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

May 8, 2006

The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (Information Today)

“One of the greatest events in the history of Open Access may have just happened. On May 2, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced the bipartisan Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (FRPAA) (S.2695). The legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. If passed, the policy would require that agencies with research budgets of more than $100 million enact policy to ensure that articles generated through research funded by that agency are made available online within 6 months of publication…”

May 4, 2006

New Bill Would Mandate Access to More Federally Funded Research (Library Journal Academic Newswire)

May 3, 2006

Bill Seeks Access to Tax-Funded Research - Grant Recipients Would Be Required to Post Findings on Internet (The Washington Post)

May 2, 2006

Taxpayer Alliance Supports Senate Bill Broadening Access to Federal Resarch



What this legislation will do: 

Every federal agency with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more will implement a public access policy that is consistent with and advances the federal purpose of the respective agency.  Each agency must:

  • Require each researcher - funded totally or partially by the agency - to submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript that has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Ensure that the manuscript is preserved in a stable digital repository maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.
  • Require that free, online access to each taxpayer-funded manuscript be available as soon as possible, and no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

To whom this policy applies:

  • Any researcher employed by a federal agency with an annual research budget exceeding $100 million who publishes an article based on the work done for the funding agency in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Any researcher funded by a federal agency with an annual research budget exceeding $100 million who publishes an article based on the funded research in a peer-reviewed journal.

What is not covered by this legislation:

  • The public access policy does not apply to laboratory notes, preliminary data analyses, author notes, phone logs, or other information used to produce the final manuscript.
  • The policy does not apply to classified research. Research that results in works that generate revenue or royalties for the author (such as books), or patentable discoveries are exempt only to the extent necessary to protect copyright or a patent.

(Adapted from Senator Cornyn’s Web site at