Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Battle of the Bills

As anger over the Research Works Act (RWA) continues to grow the open access (OA) movement has come up with the ultimate riposte — a new version of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA).

The FRPAA is the exact opposite of the RWA: Where the RWA would roll back the Public Access Policy introduced by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2005, the FRPAA would strengthen it by reducing the maximum embargo period before published research papers have to be made freely available online from 12 months to six months.

And where the RWA would outlaw other US federal agencies from imposing NIH-like mandates on their funded researchers, the FRPAA would require all the major agencies of the federal government to introduce the new strengthened policy.

In a post on Google+, OA advocate Peter Suber reports that the new version of the FRPAA is expected to be introduced in both the House and the Senate today. 

The bipartisan House sponsors of the FRPAA are Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and William Lacy Clay (D-MO), and the bipartisan Senate sponsors are John Cornyn (R-TX), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

In a message posted today on his web site, Congressman Doyle is quoted as saying:

“Americans have the right to see the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Yet such research too often gets locked away behind a pay-wall, forcing those who want to learn from it to pay expensive subscription fees for access.

“The Federal Research Public Access Act will encourage broader collaboration among scholars in the scientific community by permitting widespread dissemination of research findings. Promoting greater collaboration will inevitably lead to more innovative research outcomes and more effective solutions in the fields of biomedicine, energy, education, and health care.”

For those wanting more information about the FRPAA, Suber has created a wiki page at Harvard’s Berkman Center. This explains the new bill and its implications in greater detail. 

UPDATE: The RWA has been defeated

No comments: