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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 10, 2014
Would Slow Pace of Scientific Discovery by Restricting Public Access to Federally Funded Legislation
Washington, DC – The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition (SPARC), an international alliance of nearly 800 academic and research libraries, today announced its opposition to Section 303 of H.R. 4186, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act. This provision would impose significant barriers to the public’s ability to access the results of taxpayer-funded research.
Section 303 of the bill would undercut the ability of federal agencies to effectively implement the widely supported White House Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research and undermine the successful public access program pioneered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – recently expanded through the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act to include the Departments Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Adoption of Section 303 would be a step backward from existing federal policy in the directive, and put the U.S. at a severe disadvantage among our global competitors.
“This provision is not in the best interests of the taxpayers who fund scientific research, the scientists who use it to accelerate scientific progress, the teachers and students who rely on it for a high-quality education, and the thousands of U.S. businesses who depend on public access to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” said Heather Joseph, SPARC Executive Director. “We will continue to work with the many bipartisan members of the Congress who support open access to publicly funded research to improve the bill.”
Specifically, Section 303 would:
“Instead of imposing roadblocks to public access, we should encourage federal agencies to implement the White House Directive and encourage passage of the bipartisan, bicameral Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act,” Joseph said.
The FIRST Act was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN). It is expected to be referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system. Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change. Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries. More information can be found at www.arl.org/sparc and on Twitter @SPARC_NA.