Senate Reconsiders Open Access to Research

Wired covers the reconsideration of a stalled Senate bill to require publicly funded research to be made freely available to the public. (See my previous post.)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has pledged this year to resurrect the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.2695), which would require federally funded research to become publicly available online within six months of being published.

“When it’s the taxpayers that are underwriting projects in the federal government, they deserve to access the very things they’re paying for,” said Cornyn spokesman Brian Walsh. “This research is funded by American taxpayers and conducted by researchers funded by public institutions. But it’s not widely available.”

As it stands, researchers are “encouraged” but not required to post their results in open-access journals. So they generally don’t. With limited budgets, libraries can’t afford to give the public access to all of the research it funds. This is kind of a no-brainer for everyone except the journal publishers, but libraries particularly should be interested in passing this law.

Library advocacy group SPARC is part of the lobbying effort. They link to this Public Access to Research petition. I signed.

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