Publicly Funded Research Should Belong to the Public. Move FASTR.

When we pay for federally funded research, we should be allowed to read it. That’s the simple premise of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S. 779), which now has a real chance at passing.

Let’s send a clear message to the Senate: we can’t stall on open access for another year. It’s time to move FASTR.

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Under FASTR, every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on grants for research would be required to adopt an open access policy that gives the public access to all research no later than 12 months after publication.

FASTR isn’t a perfect bill. An ideal open access mandate would require that the research be shared under a license that allows anyone not only to read the research, but also to reuse and redistribute it for any purpose. It would also have a much shorter embargo period. That said, this is a crucial moment for Congress to take action, and FASTR is the best option on the table.

There’s already a White House Office of Science and Technology memo that requires agencies to develop public access policies, but White House directives can come and go. That’s why it’s essential to lock an open access policy into law this year before the next administration takes over.