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Access for Tax Funded Research Bill in Senate

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Senate will consider a bill that would require that researchers funded by a number of government agencies submit electronic versions of their papers within six months after they have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

The legislation, which was introduced yesterday, is similar to the open access policy already in place at the National Institutes of Health, and would apply to federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million.

The new bill, the Federal Research Public Access Act, introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I – Conn.) and co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R – Texas), will require that researchers funded totally or partially by the agency submit the electronic copy of their manuscripts, which will be preserved in a digital repository and available for public access. Each agency affected by the law would either maintain its own repository or select a suitable one that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.

The policy would not apply to materials such as lab notes, preliminary data analyses, author notes, phone logs, or other information used in the manuscript.

Under the bill, research that results in works that generate royalties for the author or patentable discoveries are exempt only to the extent necessary to protect copyrights or patents.

It would cover the research funded by the Department of Energy; Department of Health and Human Services; National Science Foundation; Department of Agriculture; Department of Commerce; Department of Defense; Department of Education; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

“This bill balances the public’s right to access what it has paid for, while preserving the time-tested institutions on which vetting and distribution of scholarly research has long relied,” David Shulenberger, VP for Academic Affairs for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said in a statement put out by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing organizations that support the bill.

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