Yesterday a bi-partisan group of legislatures – Rep. Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Yoder (R-KS), Sen. Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) – introduced legislation that would require federal agencies that fund scientific and medical research to make works they fund available to the public. This bill – known as the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013, or FASTR, is a better version of legislation introduced in previous Congresses.
FASTR shortens the acceptable delay from 12 months to 6 months (still 6 months longer than it should be, but headed in the right direction), and, very importantly, adds a requirement that the works be available for text mining and other forms of reuse. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good, and passage of this bill would be a significant milestone in the push for public access to the results of federally funded research.
Previous versions of this bill have gone nowhere, but this is the time. Supporters of open access in the US should contact their representatives in Washington and urge them to sign on as cosponsors of this bill and push for it to reach the House and Senate floor. And every month we should renew this pressure – I hereby declare the first Friday of every month #FASTRFriday (which we will celebrate today for February). Let’s keep the pressure on Congress and see this one through.
Public access legislation is also being introduced in Illinois, New York and California, and I will post updates when these bills are introduced.