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New England Provosts Call for Broader Access to Publicly Funded Research

Published Sep 19, 2006

 

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
September 19, 2006

Contacts:
Jennifer Heffelfinger
Director of Communications, SPARC
jennifer@arl.org
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121

David Smith
Executive Officer, Council of Presidents,
New England Land-Grant Universities
d.c.smith@unh.edu
(603) 862-2355

New England Provosts Call for Broader Access
to Publicly Funded Research

Washington, DC – September 19, 2006 – Six public land-grant universities in New England, representing six states and $700 million in annual research investments, have issued a letter of support for the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (S.2695). The letter is signed by the Chief Academic Officers from University of Connecticut, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, and University of Vermont. This brings the total number of leaders from the higher education community who have spoken out in support of the Act to 125.

The legislation, originally introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), would require federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from that research publicly available via the Internet. The bill is currently under consideration by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Issued on September 6, 2006 by the Council of Presidents - New England Land-Grant Universities, the letter reads:

Dear Senator Cornyn,

As the chief academic officers of the six public land-grant universities, in New England, we are writing to you in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. Our universities enroll over 100,000 students. They confer about 17% of the bachelor’s degrees and 20% of the doctoral degrees in New England. Collectively they invest more than $700 million per year on research, largely with the support of federal grants.

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.

Open access to publicly funded research facilitates the candid discussion needed to accelerate research, share knowledge, improve treatment of diseases, and increase human understanding. Your bill is a crucial step in realizing this goal, and we look forward to working with you to secure the bill’s passage. .”

The provosts whose names appear below have endorsed the FRPAA. The deans and directors of the universities’ libraries also strongly endorse the FRPAA.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Nicholls, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs,
University of Connecticut

Edna Szymanski, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost,
University of Maine

Charlena Seymour, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs,
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Bruce L. Mallory, Provost and Executive Vice President, University of New Hampshire

M. Beverly Swan, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Rhode Island

John M. Hughes, Provost and Senior Vice President, University of Vermont

The Council of Presidents, founded in 1973, is a voluntary association of the six public New England Land-Grant Universities. Its members include the Universities of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts Amherst, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The chief executive officers of the universities serve as a governing board for the Council, with significant policymaking authority shared with the chief academic officers. The primary functions of the organization are facilitating information exchange, encouraging regional program planning, and supporting joint activities. The major part of the Council's work concerns academic affairs, with additional attention devoted to government relations, student affairs, and management issues.

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The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing entities that support open public access to the results of federally funded research, including passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles on 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 http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.

 

 

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