Last spring, AALL members joined nearly 28,000 people in signing the “We, the People” Whitehouse.gov petition calling for open access to taxpayer-funded research. As a result of the petition and input from scientists, public interest groups and publishers, late last week John Holdren, director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, released a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies titled “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” (pdf) in response.
The Obama Administration has demonstrated that open access to federally funded research could be a high priority for this term. The White House memo calls on Federal agencies investing in research and development to create clear and coordinated policies for increasing access to federally funded, published research and digital scientific data within 6 months. The timing of the memo is also opportune: less than two weeks ago, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) (H.R. 708/S. 350) was introduced in both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. That bill, which AALL strongly supports, would require research funded by the U.S. government freely accessible online to American taxpayers. While the President’s memorandum has the force and effect of law and is in many ways similar to FASTR, action by Congress would ensure the Memorandum would not merely be overturned by the next president.
AALL recently joined twelve national and regional library, publishing, research and advocacy organizations in thanking the sponsors for introducing FASTR. FASTR will help broaden access to important research that is now unavailable to the public at a time when the demand for wider access— especially to federally funded research— is reaching a critical high. Urge your Representative and Senators to cosponsor FASTR using our Legislative Action Center today.