Washington Hotline

Corey Williams


This month’s Washington Hotline picks up where the February 2012 installment left off—with a major development on the topic of open access.

Open access legislation introduced

On February 9, 2012, members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives introduced identical bills with bipartisan support aimed at improving access to federally funded research. In the House, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) (H.R. 4004) was introduced by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), cosponsored by Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Lacy Clay (D-MO), and referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In the Senate, a bill by the same name (S. 2096) was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), cosponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and then referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

As with FRPAA legislation introduced in previous Congresses dating back to 2006, these new, identical bills would:

  • require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million to develop a policy to ensure researchers submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal;
  • develop a policy ensuring that researchers submit an electronic copy of the final manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal;
  • ensure that manuscripts are preserved in a stable digital repository maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation; and
  • require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

ALA has a history of strong support for this legislation—as it builds on the success of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy implemented in 2008. If you recall, the NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public have access to the published results of NIH-funded research no later than 12 months after publication. FRPAA legislation would expand the amount of research made available and improve access by making it accessible by no later than six months after publication.

In addition, FRPAA legislation is the antidote to the anti-open access Research Works Act (H.R. 3699), introduced in December 2011 by Rep. Darrell Issa (D-CA). Additional information on the bill is available at www.ala.org/advocac/research-works-act. ALA will continue to voice strong opposition to the Research Works Act while enthusiastically supporting FRPAA legislation.

National Library Legislative Day, April 23–24, 2012

Please join the ALA Washington Office staff and fellow colleagues and friends of libraries for the 2012 National Library Legislative Day. Quickly approaching, this year’s event will be held April 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C. Each year more than 400 library supporters travel to D.C. where they receive training and briefings to prepare for meetings with their members of Congress. Participants can expect to walk away with several insider tips on crafting compelling advocacy messages, speaking with legislators, developing advocacy plans, and much more. For additional information and to register for this year’s event, please visit www.ala.org/nlld.

Copyright 2012© American Library Association

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