Notes on the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act

From Harvard Open Access Project
Jump to: navigation, search

FASTR provisions

  • The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act is the successor to the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). FRPAA had been introduced in three earlier sessions of Congress (May 2006, April 2009, and February 2012) but had not come up for a vote. In the 113th Congress, Congressional supporters of OA decided to introduced a modified bill. The result is FASTR, a new and strengthened version of FRPAA. Both bills would require open access (OA) to peer-reviewed manuscripts of articles reporting the results of federally-funded research.
  • See the text of the bill, from the office of Rep. Mike Doyle, one of the co-sponsors in the House.
  • Because FRPAA is well-known, we organize this section by comparing FASTR with FRPAA. (Section numbers in parentheses refer to FASTR, not FRPAA.)
  • How FASTR and FRPAA are alike:
    1. Both cover the same set of agencies, namely, those spending at least $100 million/year to fund extramural research (Section 4.a).
      • This includes the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.
    2. Both give agencies one year from the passage of the bill (4.a) to develop their policies in conformity with the guidelines laid down in the bill.
    3. Both mandate "public access" (4.a.1, 4.b, 4.f.2.A), "free online public access" (4.b.4), and "free public access" (4.b.7.B, 4.f.2.A) without defining these terms.
    4. Both mandate green OA (through repositories) (4.b.7.A), and are silent on gold OA (through journals).
    5. Both require deposit of the final version of the author's peer-reviewed manuscript (4.b.1). Both allow consenting publishers to replace that version with the published version (4.b.3).
    6. Both give agencies freedom to designate a suitable repository for the mandatory deposits, when suitability includes "free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation" (4.b.7). Agencies may host their own repositories, the way NIH hosts PubMed Central, or ask grantees to deposit in suitable institutional or disciplinary repositories.
    7. Both apply to research funded "in whole or in part" (4.b.1) by one of the covered federal agencies.
    8. Both ask for OA "as soon as practicable" after publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and both require OA "no later than 6 months" after publication (4.b.4). Both require immediate OA (unembargoed OA) for works by government-employed researchers (4.c).
    9. Both avoid copyright problems by requiring agency policies to "make effective use of any law or guidance relating to the creation and reservation of a Government license that provides for the reproduction, publication, release, or other uses of a final manuscript for Federal purposes" (4.c.3).
    10. Both exempt classified research, unpublished research, royalty-producing research such as books, and patentable discoveries (4.d.3).
    11. Both are explicit in not amending copyright law or patent law (4.e).
  • How FASTR and FRPAA differ:
    1. FASTR contains a new provision on coordinating agency policies (4.a.2): "To the extent practicable, Federal agencies required to develop a policy...shall follow common procedures for the collection and depositing of research papers." This will reduce the burden on universities that need to comply with procedures at more than one of the covered agencies, and should have no detrimental effect on OA. Indeed, it should improve compliance with agency OA policies.
    2. FASTR contains three new provisions calling for libre OA or open licensing:
      • FASTR includes a new "finding" in its preamble (2.3): "the United States has a substantial interest in maximizing the impact and utility of the research it funds by enabling a wide range of reuses of the peer-reviewed literature that reports the results of such research, including by enabling computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies."
      • FASTR includes a formatting and licensing provision (4.b.5): the versions deposited in repositories and made OA shall be distributed "in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies."
      • FASTR requires that the annual report from each covered agency include a statement from the agency on "whether the terms of use applicable to such research papers are effective in enabling productive reuse and computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies" (4.f.2.B.i) and the results of the agency's "examination of whether such research papers should include a royalty-free copyright license that is available to the public and that permits the reuse of those research papers, on the condition that attribution is given to the author or authors of the research and any others designated by the copyright owner" (4.f.2.B.ii).

FASTR in the 113th Congress

Major statements of support

Major statements of opposition

Action in support of FASTR

  • Write or phone members of Congress.
    • Thank the sponsors who introduced the bills in the House and Senate. You can find their contact info in the links on their names above, or in CongressMerge.
    • Contact the members of the committees to which the bills were referred, showing your support and urging them to support the bills as well.
    • US citizens should contact their Representatives and Senators, urging them to support or co-sponsor the bills. If you don't already have their contact info, you can use the ATA's Legislative Action Center or the EFF's Action form. Or you look up the contact info in CongressMerge.

Discussion and analysis