September 24, 2009

College heads back research public access

The presidents of 57 U.S. liberal arts colleges in 22 states have declared support for the Federal Research Public Access Act.

The college presidents released an open letter Thursday said to be the first from higher education administrators supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act.

The letter notes, Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit of education, research, and the general public.

The act would require journal articles stemming from publicly funded research be made available in an online repository no later than six months after publication.

As liberal arts college presidents, we are writing to express our strong support for S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009, which has been introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senators Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas. This bill would require federal agencies whose external research budgets exceed $100 million to develop policies that would ensure public access via the Internet to their funded research, the letter reads.

The college presidents said current access to research information paid for with tax[ayer dollars is severely limited.

The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers, they wrote.

The letter is available at