“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….”
This article is free of charge but users must request it by email. Excerpt: “The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a report (S.Rpt. 114-224) on legislation (S. 779 [FASTR]) to provide for Federal agencies to develop public access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that agency or from funds administered by that agency. The report was advanced by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on March 8….CBO estimates that implementing S. 779 would not have a significant federal cost. The bill could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net increase in spending by those agencies would not be significant. Enacting S. 779 would not affect revenues. Most of the provisions of the bill would codify and expand current policies and practices of federal agencies. A memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy dated February 22, 2013, included a requirement that agencies develop and implement plans to make research funded by the federal government more widely available to the public. Consequently, CBO estimates that implementing this bill would not significantly increase the workload or administrative costs of federal agencies. S. 779 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Any costs incurred by public entities, such as public universities and research institutions participating in federal research programs would be incurred as conditions of receiving federal assistance….”
“The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) today passed S. 779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act, unanimously by voice vote and moved it to the full Senate for consideration. This marks the first time the Senate has acted on a government-wide policy ensuring public access to the results of publicly funded research, and is an important step towards codifying the progress made by the 2013 White House OSTP Directive….”
“FASTR will go to markup tomorrow at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC)….We already have the 2008 NIH policy, but it only covers one agency. We already have the 2013 Obama directive requiring about two dozen federal agencies to adopt OA mandates, but the next President could rescind it. FASTR would subsume and extend the NIH policy. FASTR would solidify the Obama directive by grounding these agency policies in legislation. Moreover, FASTR would strengthen the NIH policy and Obama directive by requiring reuse rights or open licensing. It has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. FASTR has been introduced in two sessions of Congress (February 2013 and March 2015), and its predecessor, FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act), was introduced in three (May 2006, April 2010, February 2012). Neither FASTR nor FRPAA has gotten to the stage of markup and a committee vote. That’s why tomorrow’s markup is so big….”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”