Federal agencies would be required to develop policies allowing timely, free, online access to government-funded research under a bill, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (H.R.5037), moving through the U.S. House of Representatives. A hearing on the subject is scheduled next week (PDF) before the Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle is sponsoring the bill. Similar legislation was introduced last year but failed to make it through the process.
The bill is supported by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and its Alliance for Taxpayer Access, which reports the hearing is open to the public and will be at 2 p.m. on July 29 in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2154. A list of organizations opposing the bill is at www.openbiomed.info, taken from a letter (PDF) to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Doyle’s site carries text of a letter signed by a number of research universities in support of the bill.
The bill, which would apply to 11 agencies “with extramural research expenditures of over $100 million,” would require that the policies apply to researchers who work for the agencies as well as those funded by the agencies. Specifically, the bill calls for:
- free online public access to final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions as soon as practicable, but not later than 6 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals;
- production of an online bibliography of all research papers that are publicly accessible under the policy, with each entry linking to the corresponding free online full text
- long-term preservation of, and free public access to, published research findings
That would require public access to research similar to what’s required by the NIH’s Public Access Policy that was made permanent last year.