The new Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which Congress passed yesterday, contains an important -- and fantastic -- provision: it requires that scientific research funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education be placed in a free online repository within 12 months of their publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
There are some caveats (this only covers research from agencies with budgets of $100M or more) and it could have been better (immediate publication and all work placed in the pubic domain), but this is still a major stride forward. To be frank, it's well beyond what I'd hoped we'd get from Congress, who are traditionally more than willing to let private firms wall away pubic access from the research that tax-payers fund.
Here's the inside dirt from the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Adi Kamdar:
This is big. Previously, the National Institutes of Health was the only government agency with a statutory public access mandate. Last year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) made moves in this direction by requiring agencies with similar research budgets to formulate, and eventually implement, their own public access policies. While the OSTP memorandum was a heartening step in the right direction, ultimately these crucial practices must be set down in the law, so they cannot be decimated at the whim of a future presidential administration.
Having another public access law on the books is surely cause for celebration—and hats off to all of those who have been fighting the open access fight—but we shouldn't stop here. Ultimately, we want to make sure that the public has full access to taxpayer funded research.
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would go beyond the provisions laid out in the Omnibus bill by mandating a six-month embargo until research funded by a larger number of departments and agencies is made publicly available online.
Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to support FASTR.
Newly Passed Appropriations Bill Makes Even More Publicly Funded Research Available Online
Texas State University’s Body Farm (AKA Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University or FACTS) is a 45-year-old facility where the corpses of medical body donors are left to decompose so that researchers can observe the rate at which human remains are consumed by the elements, scavengers and microbes, allowing them to accurately date the […]
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren’t inquiring about actual insects, they’re suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they’re desperate and even suicidal.
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]