Call to Action: Oppose Section 302 of the Proposed FIRST Act

This just in from SPARC:

A discussion draft of the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act of 2013 (FIRST), currently being circulated within the House Science Committee, would impose significant barriers to the public’s ability to access taxpayer funded research by restricting federal science agencies’ ability to provide timely, equitable, online access to articles and data reporting on the results of research that they support.

One provision of the proposed bill – Section 302 – would extend the embargo period after which federally funded research must be made freely available to up to three years after publication.  This extension would undercut federal agencies’ ability to effectively implement the widely-supported White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research, undermine the public access program pioneered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and significantly hurt the utility of US public access policy.

You can learn more about Section 302 of the proposed FIRST Act and how it would delay public access to publicly funded research on the SPARC website.

SPARC asks supporters of Open Access to take the following steps to ensure Section 302 doesn’t roll back the White House Directive:

  1. Ask your representatives in Congress to oppose language in the proposed FIRST Act to delay public access (Section 302) now through our Legislative Action Center. [I did it! Now you!]
  2. Tweet at your legislators to oppose Section 302 of the FIRST Act and directly at Representative Lamar Smith (@LamarSmithTX21), Chairman of the House Science Committee. [I did it! Now you!]
  3. Forward this call to action or a link to the SPARC action page for the FIRST Act to friends, colleagues, and email lists.  Post about the bill to personal or organizational social media channels.
  4. Write an op-ed or letter to the editor about Section 302 of the FIRST Act for your local or campus newspaper, blog, or other publication outlet.

It’s a busy day, so I hope that copying and pasting their email counts as blogging about the issue.  I wholeheartedly agree that Section 302 of the FIRST Act would be disastrous for science, industry, academia, and the overall world of ideas, even if I don’t have time just now to state that opposition in my own carefully constructed language…

Image from Rochester Institute of Technology's Wallace Center
Image from Rochester Institute of Technology’s Wallace Center

Happy Open Access Week!

Open Access Week is here! There are lots of great events across the university this week, check out our Open Access Week 2013 page to see them all.

And of course there’s a dizzying array of blog posts, news, tweets, and other information about OA activities around the globe this week. Here are two that caught our eyes:

Open Access guru Peter Suber wrote a terrific article in The Guardian this week called Open Access: Six Myths to Put To Rest, a must-read for any open access fan who advocates for OA in their department, college, university, or profession.

Sarah Werner, a digital humanist who works at the Folger Shakespeare Library, wrote a great post on her blog about negotiating her contributor’s contract for a book chapter she authored. As Barbara Fister’s Library Babel Fish column in today’s Inside Higher Ed reminds us, book chapters often fall through the cracks when we talk about OA, and it’s great to see folks trying to free their work in books as well as journals.

Happy Open Access Week to all! Please share your thoughts, strategies, and observations in the comments.

Advocate for OA in New York State!

The New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) is calling for your help in conveying the importance of open access to New York representatives in Albany. The NYSHEI-drafted bill, TAPFR – Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research (A.180/S.4050), will be presented to the state legislature shortly.

NYSHEI’s TAPFR Policy Paper describes the goals of this bill:

  • each researcher funded totally or partially by New York State taxes submit an electronic copy of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal;
  • that the manuscript is preserved digitally in a repository that provides free public access and long-term preservation; and,
  • free, online access is publicly available no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

NYSHEI is asking that anyone who has an interest in open access write to their representatives. They are also providing a sample TAPFR Letter of Support that you could use as a spring board for your own letter.

New York, by becoming the first among states to adopt an open access policy, would give its research and researchers an advantage over colleagues in other states.  Making discovered knowledge more available leads to greater influence as the work is more available for citations.  Additionally students, faculty, and the academic institutions themselves will benefit through lower costs and more access to peer-reviewed scholarship.

Please help NYSHEI and New York and show your support for openness and public access to publicly-funded work!