WASHINGTON - A bipartisan coalition of Senate and House members, including Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Wednesday introduced the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act, a bill to improve public access to federally funded research.
The FASTR Act's introduction coincides with "Sunshine Week," a movement to highlight the need for transparency and openness from the federal government.
"American taxpayers fund billions in research that unlocks breakthroughs in technology, science, medicine and dozens of other disciplines," Wyden said. "By taking that research out from behind paywalls and making it accessible to all Americans, the FASTR Act will promote new innovations and give America a better return on its investment."
"Improving public access to federally-funded research is good government and is the right thing to do," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. "There is no reason why taxpayers should not have prompt, easy access to the research they themselves have helped fund."
"I'm proud to reintroduce FASTR with my colleagues," Rep. Mike Doyle, R-Pa., said. "This bill will give the American people greater access to the scientific research they've already paid for. That's only fair. In addition, FASTR will facilitate the dissemination of new knowledge within the scientific community, which I believe will accelerate innovation and economic growth. I believe that Open Access policies like this can be instrumental in expanding U.S. leadership in science going forward."
"This bill takes meaningful steps to improve transparency and accountability in the federal government," Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, said. "It will not only bring easier access to federally-funded research, but will also help ensure that our taxpayer dollars are getting their highest possible return on investment."
"Federal funding supports researchers and scientists hard at work every day, and when this information is shared openly with the public, it is a powerful building block for future discoveries," Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said. "Transparent and increased public access can accelerate breakthroughs, encourage collaborative research, and lead to faster commercialization and untold benefits for the public, our economy, and our competitive advantage as a nation."
The FASTR Act would:
- Require each publicly-funded researcher to submit an electronic copy of the final text of peer-reviewed research and ensure that manuscript is available for free online access within six months.
- Spur innovation and encourage job creation by allowing faster access to research that can help individuals and businesses turn ideas and concepts into goods and services.
- Encourage private investment in information technology to capitalize on government research.
- Ensure a higher return on taxpayer investment that could be worth around $1.6 billion.