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Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012

posted Feb 9, 2012, 11:14 AM by Lewis Baumstark
This is a bill just introduced into Congress that would mandate open-access policies for journal articles whose research was funded by the Federal Government.  This is HUGE, especially given that an anti-open access bill (the "Research Works Act") is currently on the table.  This needs modding-up, people.  When our tax dollars are used to fund research, we should reap the benefit and have access to the products of that research.  FRPA is a major step in the right direction.  (As opposed to the Research Works Act, which is simple corporate welfare.)

I do have a couple of nits to pick:
  1. The exception for conference papers (Sec. 4 (d)(1)) should be struck.  While they may not be on par with "journals", conference papers are published research reports that contain relevant information just like journals.  Much research that is published in conference proceedings never makes it into journals, so this exception means a ton of useful information will be excluded from public view.
  2. Only agencies with a budget in excess of $100 million are required to adopt open-access policies.  To my middle-class income that seems like a huge number, one that could potentially only apply to a few agencies.  I would like clarity as to what agencies are included or excluded here.
  3. It appears each agency is responsible for maintaining its own online archives of papers.  It seems to me a better solution to task the Library of Congress with maintaining one archive.