It’s Not Too Late. Let’s Pass an Open Access Law This Year.

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.

Take ActionTell Congress to pass FASTR.

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MLA Commons CORE and Open Access – ProfHacker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Modern Language Association recently announced an exciting open-access project, Humanities Core, funded by the NEH. The project is very ambitious and promises to be a valuable asset for researchers, particularly those without access to the expensive databases of large universities. The announcement explains the project:

The MLA and Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Center for Digital Research and Scholarship are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a $60,000 start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin development of Humanities Commons Open Repository Exchange, or Humanities CORE. Humanities CORE will connect a library-quality repository for sharing, discovering, retrieving, and archiving digital work with Humanities Commons, a developing platform for collaboration among scholarly societies and other humanities organizations. The interface will enable MLA members and other participants in Humanities Commons to link to uploaded materials from their profiles, creating an interactive professional vita.

While Humanities CORE hasn’t launched, the MLA CORE beta is open. There are several hundred works deposited on the MLA CORE beta, including a number of course materials, articles, and even books. Currently, the beta for submitting work is open to MLA Commons members only, but even in this early stage it shows its potential for a resource (particularly for things that are valuable but not often shared in an easily-accessible archive, like syllabus examples).

Going open-access with your work broadens the potential readership: we’ve advocated for open access frequently at ProfHacker. The SHERPA/RoMEO open access look-up tool makes it easy to find the typical permissions journals send authors for making work open access. These vary wildly, so it’s important to check before you add previously published work. While some institutions have dedicated repositories, one of the dominant “open-access” sites right now is However, the site has come under warranted critique for its approach to open access — Gary Hall has a great article on concerns about using it as a repository. Humanities CORE offers one important vision for a future of a far less corporate archive.

Have you tried out MLA CORE, or used materials from the repository? Share your tips in the comments!

[CC BY 2.0 Photo by h_pampel]