And a Very Happy New Year to You, Congress!

This isn’t breaking news (sometimes we at the Open Access @ CUNY blog go on vacation, and sometimes we even go on vacation where there’s no internet, and, gasp, sometimes things happen when we have no internet!), but it’s still making me break a huge smile:

Congress passed open access legislation!
(This is a major expansion of the NIH’s well-known policy!)

Both the House and the Senate approved the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes many provisions in its 1582 (!) pages. The provision we at Open Access @ CUNY care about is Section 527, which appears on page 1020:

Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;

(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication;

and (3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a similar directive last February, but as we examined, the directive did not make legislation unnecessary. As Peter Suber wrote, “we need legislation to codify federal OA policies. The next president could rescind today’s White House directive, but could not rescind legislation.”

And now we have legislation!!!  (Read more about it at the Washington Post.)

Many details need to be worked out, of course, but the passage of this provision is an excellent reason to put your New Year’s Eve noisemakers to good use one last time this month.

party horn
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/9076289197/



Open Argentina

Here in the United States, open access advocates are struggling mightily to make the case that taxpayers are entitled to the research their taxes fund — and that open access is good for innovation, industry (well, except possibly the high-profit publishing industry…), and the world of ideas.  Basically, it’s a deathmatch between the public and publishers, which have so far succeeded in sowing enough confusion to kill FRPAA in Congress and Senate and TAPFR in New York State.

(But all is not lost. FRPAA’s been revived as FASTR; there’s hope for TAPFR moving forward; and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum instructing all federal agencies with research and development expenditures over $100 million to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research freely available within 12 months of publication.)

Meanwhile, progress is swifter and less controversial elsewhere. For example, on Wednesday Argentina’s Senate unanimously passed a law that requires all publicly-funded research to be made open access within six months of publication.  My Spanish isn’t so hot, but this is a very exciting paragraph indeed (key phrases bolded):

Los investigadores, tecnólogos, docentes, becarios de posdoctorado y estudiantes de maestría y doctorado cuya actividad de investigación sea financiada con fondos públicos, deberán depositar o autorizar expresamente el depósito de una copia de la versión final de su producción científico-tecnológica publicada o aceptada para publicación y/o que haya atravesado un proceso de aprobación por una autoridad competente o con jurisdicción en la materia, en los repositorios digitales de acceso abierto de sus instituciones, en un plazo no mayor a los seis (6) meses desde la fecha de su publicación oficial o de su aprobación.

May we follow suit.

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