Publicly Funded Research Should Be Open to the Public
When the public pays for research, the public should have free access to that research. You shouldn’t have to buy expensive journal subscriptions or academic database access in order to read research that was paid for with federal funding. That’s the simple premise of FASTR, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S. 779, H.R. 1477). As we near the end of the 2015-16 session of Congress, the clock is ticking for FASTR.
Under FASTR, every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on grants for research would be required to adopt an open access policy. Although the bill gives each agency some flexibility to develop a policy appropriate to the types of research it funds, each one would require that published research be available to the public no later than 12 months after publication.
A previous version of FASTR was first introduced in 2013. FASTR has strong support on both sides of the aisle, but it still hasn't come up for a vote in either chamber of Congress.
This year, the stakes are higher than ever. Federally funded research is kept in the open today by a 2013 White House memo. With a new administration just months away, it’s essential that Congress secure those provisions by passing FASTR. Priorities will change with future administrations, but by locking FASTR’s provisions into law, we can ensure that that U.S. government continues to make publicly funded research available to the public for generations to come.
Now is the time. If you believe in open access to publicly funded research, then please take a moment to write your members of Congress and urge them to pass FASTR.
EFF is proud to participate in Open Access Week. Check back all week for opportunities to get involved with the fight for open access.