“Seven years ago, a Kazakhstani graduate student named Alexandra Elbakyan started a website with a seemingly innocuous goal: Make most of the world’s research freely available to anyone with internet access. It’s a sad reflection on the state of scientific publishing that she is now a fugitive hiding in Russia. Most people agree that if the public funds scientific research, it should also have free access to the results. …The publishers have responded with legal action. Last year, Elsevier won $15 million in damages for copyright infringement. More recently, a Virginia court awarded the American Chemical Society $4.8 million and ordered internet search engines, web hosting sites and service providers to stop facilitating Sci-Hub activities….”
“On July 26, H.R. 3427, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), was reintroduced in the US House of Representatives by Michael Doyle [D-PA-14]. This was followed by a similar bill in the Senate, S. 1701, reintroduced there on August 2 by Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX]. Essentially similar versions of these bills have been placed in the legislative hopper for three sessions now, introduced by mostly the same Senators and Representatives.
In 2013, under the Obama Administration, the introduction of FASTR was accompanied by an Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policy guidance memorandum which required all Federal agencies with annual R&D award budgets over $100 million to develop plans to support “increased public access.””
“On Oct. 18, Paul introduced the “BASIC Research Act,” which would make several changes to peer review processes and would broaden public access requirements for grant applications and research results….In addition, the bill incorporates almost all of the “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act” …”
“Below are ways in which you can help pass FASTR and spread the word about the positive effects this legislation will have on research, the academic community, entrepreneuers, students, and the general public. Now is the time to reach out to your Members of Congress and tell them at they should support FASTR!”
“The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act is the successor to the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). FRPAA had been introduced in three earlier sessions of Congress (May 2006, April 2009, and February 2012) but never came up for a vote. In the 113th Congress, Congressional supporters of OA decided to introduce a modified bill. The result is FASTR, a strengthened version of FRPAA. Both bills would require open access (OA) to peer-reviewed manuscripts of articles reporting the results of federally-funded research….”
Abstract: The adoption of open access (OA) policies that require participation rather than request it is often accompanied by concerns about whether such mandates violate researchers’ academic freedoms. This issue has not been well explored, particularly in the Canadian context. However the recent adoption of an OA policy from Canada’s major funding agencies and the development of the Fair access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) in the United States has made addressing the issue of academic freedom and OA policies an important issue in academic institutions. This paper will investigate the relationship between OA mandates and academic freedom with the context of the recent OA policy at the University of Windsor as a point of reference. While this investigation concludes that adopting OA policies that require faculty participation at the institutional level should not be an issue of academic freedom, it is important to understand the varied factors that contribute to this tension. This includes misunderstandings about journal based (gold) and repository based (green) OA, growing discontent about increased managerialism in universities and commercialization of research, as well as potential vagueness within collective agreements’ language regarding academic freedom and publication. Despite these potential roadblocks, a case can be made that OA policies are not in conflict with academic freedom given they do not produce the harms that academic freedom is intended to protect.
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.
“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.”
“The Congress has been considering legislation that would set specific guidelines for scholarly publications. The legislation, called Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), S. 779 in the Senate and H.R. 1477 in the House, aims to improve access to tax-payer funded research results. S. 779 was passed favorably by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. H.R. 1477 has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, but no markup is currently scheduled….”