FRPAA in the Spotlight: Public Access Bill featured in Congressional Briefing, Two Dozen Bipartisan Co-sponsors add their Support.

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Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s (March 19, 2012) well-attended Congressional briefing on the issue of public access to the results of taxpayer funded research, 24 new bipartisan co-sponsors have officially been added to the roster of supporters for H.R. 4004, The Federal Research Public Access Act
 
The new co-sponsors (see full list below) join the bill’s original sponsors, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS). These new supporters reflect the consistently broad and bi-partisan appeal of this policy, which would ensure that taxpayers are guaranteed free, online access to articles reporting on the results research that their tax dollars have funded. 
 
This issue was explored in depth at a briefing on Capitol Hill yesterday, hosted by the office of Rep. Mike Doyle. The briefing featured two expert speakers. First, Dr. Neil Thakur, Special Assistant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Deputy Director for Extramural Research and Program Manager for the NIH Public Access Policy, presented a thorough view of that agency's experience with their landmark Public Access policy. He noted that the NIH considers public access as central to their mission, and as a critical component in ensuring that the public’s investment in NIH-funded research is leveraged to its fullest. 
 
He was followed by Elliot Maxwell, Program Director of the Digital Connections Council of the Committee for Economic Development and author of the recent Kaufman Foundation for Entrepreneurship-funded report, “The Future of Taxpayer-Funded Research: Who Will Control Access to the Results?" Maxwell presented a synopsis of the report focusing on the potential impacts of expanding the NIH Policy to other U.S. Federal science agencies. He explored the potential benefits this expansion might have on scientific productivity, economic growth, innovation and national competitiveness.  
 
About half of the two-hour briefing (full disclosure: for which I had the pleasure of serving as moderator) was devoted to a lively question and answer session and in-depth discussion with attendees. The quality of the questions and passion behind the discussion was yet another strong signal that interest in this issue - and commitment to action on it - continues to grow.
 
Below is the list of new co-sponsors for H.R. 4004, The Federal Research Public Access Act.