Wyden bill would open taxpayer-paid research

After six months, not hidden behind journal paywalls

WASHINGTON - Every year, the federal government spends billions of dollars funding research into science, technology, energy, medicine and more.

This research often leads to innovations that create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of people. However, much of it is published behind the paywall of peer-reviewed journals, limiting access to innovators and the American public.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Thursday he's introduced the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to make access to federally funded research available to all Americans.

"Breakthroughs in technology, science, medicine and dozens of other disciplines are made every year due to the billions in research funding provided by the American people," Wyden said.

"Making those findings available to all Americans is the best way to lead the next generation of discovery and innovation or create the next game-changing business. The FASTR act provides that access because taxpayer funded research should never be hidden behind a paywall."

Tens of billions of dollars are spent on federally funded research each year. Those findings are generally published in peer reviewed journals where access is limited only to those with paid subscriptions.

The FASTR Act puts a time limit on that exclusivity, making federally funded research papers available on a public database no more than six months after publication in a peer reviewed journal.

Some 90,000 federally funded research papers are published each year, Wyden said, and timely access to the findings will encourage private investment into new technologies and bring new products and services to the market more quickly.

Click here for a summary of the legislation.

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