UoL Library Blog

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Open Access Week: Federal Research Act

Posted by gazjjohnson on 22 October, 2009

Those following the developments in open access and scholarly research publication often look to the US and Australia, and to a lesser degree the Scandinavian countries, whom are generally a year or so ahead of the situation in the UK.  Interestingly in the States at the moment there is a bill, the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, which is looking to legislate the following:

“…require researchers with grants from certain federal agencies — those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually — to make their final peer-reviewed manuscripts openly available in digital repositories within six months.”

Okay, it does look like this is a successor to a similer defeated bill back in 2006; but since then both the political landscape and the open access movement has seen considerable developments.  Funders mandates are now very much a central theme now, where as in 2006 we were only seeing the first ones emerge.  Would we see a piece of legislation like this in the UK?  Probably not anytime soon given the run up to the general election in 2010; I find it unlikely that with the state of the economy anyone’s going to be able to bring scholarly research access up the political agenda.  I certainly don’t think the vast bulk of public are aware, or even overly concerned, that so much of their taxes goes to pay for access to research we’ve given away. 

Maybe this is something that OA advocates should be doing – reaching out to the general public and getting the OA debate out of the ivory towers and into the press and media?  Perhaps it’s a role for UKCoRR or the reformulated RSP?

Either way, the reception and progress of this bill is certainly one to watch with interest.

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