Scholars and researchers in the sciences and medicine have become more familiar with the NIH Mandatory Public Access policy that requires authors to deposit their research articles into PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication. This has added many thousands of research articles into the public domain. Legislation to expand this public access policy to other fields has been proposed but not yet adopted. Despite that failure, a new effort to broaden public access has begun again.Here is a summary of FASTR, a new piece of legislation introduced recently to create even more public access to research, that comes from the ACRL Insider newsletter.
On Thursday February 14, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This bi-cameral and bipartisan legislation would require federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition to requiring greater access, the legislation would require agencies to examine whether introducing open licensing options for research papers they make publicly available would promote productive reuse and computational analysis of those research papers.
FASTR would apply to quite a few other federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services,the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. Those interested in learning more about FASTR can find more information at SPARC’s Alliance for Taxpayer Access site.
It is difficult to say if FASTR will fare better than its predecessor FRPPA. It is likely that the commercial publishers of scholarly journals will oppose this legislation as they have in the past. Faculty generally support the idea of offering open, public access to their research articles once they have been published in journals. With support from the academic community, FASTR could become a reality this time.