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Inching Closer to a National Open Access Policy

June 14, 2021

June 8th the “United States Innovation and Competition Act 2021” (S. 1260) which includes provisions endorsing public access to federally-funded research was passed by the U.S. Senate. According to Katie Steen, Manager of Public Policy & Advocacy for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), “public access provisions in S. 1260 are from a compromise deal reached in 2017 to advance the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research (FASTR) Act out of the Senate HSGA Committee.”

Steen further related that this is the farthest that the FASTR bill has advanced in the legislative process. “The language (on page 478 in Section 2527) in the bill essentially codifies the 2013 White House Memorandum on Public Access, requiring the deposit of authors’ final manuscripts into federally owned or managed repositories, in machine readable formats, and under licenses that enable productive reuses. While it does still include an embargo period, the language also calls for articles to be made open ‘not later than 12 months after publication, preferably sooner,’ indicating a clear Senate preference for shortening embargoes.” 

“Although we oppose any embargo period and intend to continue to push for a full national open access policy,” Steen said, they are “pleased to see the Senate endorse language that strongly supports providing faster access to taxpayer-funded research results.” The next step is for the bill to go to the U.S. House of Representatives. For SPARC’s fuller comments on the passage of this bill see, “SPARC Statement on Public Access Provisions in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.”

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