This week bills were introduced in both houses of Congress to expand the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy to other federal agencies (H/T CSPC). We’ve been at this dance before, and I suspect we’ll find the steps familiar. Even so, it’s time to take a look at the card.
The House bill (H.R. 708) was introduced by Representative Mike Doyle, along with Representatives Lofgren (California) and Yoder (Kansas). The Senate bill (S. 350) was introduced by Senators Wyden (Oregon) and Cornyn (Texas). While previous versions were called the Federal Research Public Access Act, this time around someone was thinking about the acronym. It’s now called the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR). The bill has been changed some, and Peter Suber has been tracking the differences in the new bill. Key among those differences is language requiring a coordination of disclosure policies across federal agencies. Additionally the FASTR bill has been written to encourage the re-use of research results. This would facilitate data analysis of submitted research for reproduction studies, meta-analyses, and survey reports. Not to mention checking for fraud or other instances of scientific misconduct.
The basics of the bill, per the summary from Senator Wyden’s office:
Every federal agency with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more will implement a public-access policy. It applies to research funded by that agency and research conducted by employees of that agency.
The policy will require researchers to submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. That manuscript must be preserved in a stable digital repository that provides permanent free public access, no later than six months following publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
The bills will be reviewed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. I’ll post when hearings take place, but be patient. If past history on similar bills is any indication, it may be some months before any hearings happen.