Students: Get Your University Press to Support FASTR
Many schools have associated nonprofit publishing bodies known as university presses. These institutions usually publish academic books with the intent of disseminating important knowledge and promoting the public good. With this mission in mind, it would seem as though these academic centers would be among the first to support the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act, or FASTR, a bill that would provide public access to a huge majority of taxpayer-funded research—much of which happens at colleges and universities.
Many university presses, however, are members of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), an organization that opposes FASTR (yet supports the White House public access memo). The AAP had earlier supported the ill-fated Research Works Act, a bill that would severely curb open access policies that thousands of researchers—and eventually scientific journal powerhouse Elsevier—came out against.
Ask your university press to disavow the AAP stance on FASTR. Universities, as major recipients of federal funding for research, should be in support of a strong public access bill; their own publishing shops should not, by default, subscribe to the AAP's position.
You can use the following letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
As a student, I care about having access to the latest scientific research—especially research that is funded by taxpayer money.
The Fair Access to Science & Technology Research (FASTR) Act, introduced with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, would sanction a public access policy across major federal government funding bodies—including those that support our university's research.
Our university is dedicated to advancing knowledge and promoting the public good. In keeping with this mission, our university press should come out in support of FASTR and disavow the negative stance taken by the Association of American Publishers, which has a history of rejecting strong open access policies.