Libraries cheer passage of strong open access legislation in U.S. Senate

alaAmerican Library Association press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C.―Today, public access to federally-funded research took one momentous move forward with the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ vote to support the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015 (FASTR). The legislation would accelerate scientific discovery and fuel innovation by making articles reporting on publicly-funded scientific research freely accessible online for anyone to read and build upon.

FASTR would require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million to develop a policy to ensure that researchers submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Additionally, the bill would also require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than twelve months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The library community, which has long advocated for public access to federally-funded research, cheered the Senate Committee’s support of the bill. As critical public access points, libraries provide every sector of their communities with a wealth of research information.

“The public has a right to access government-funded information,” said Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association (ALA). “This legislation provides the public―which includes students in libraries and schools across the nation―with opportunities to learn and grow from scholarly research.

“We would like to thank U.S. Senate Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) for his leadership in moving FASTR forward. We would also like to thank Senator John Cornyn for introducing the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015. Earlier this year, the American Library Association awarded Sen. Cornyn the 2015 James Madison Award for his work to promote the public’s right to know and improve public access to government information.”

The next step for the FASTR bill will be a full vote by the U.S. Senate. Subscribe to the District Dispatch, the ALA Washington Office blog, for updates on the legislation.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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