The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR)

Current Legislation

S. 350: The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) (introduced 2/14/13)

H.R. 708: The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) (introduced 2/14/13)

113th Congress

November 8, 2013
ALA joined in a letter with 10 other national and regional library, publishing, and advocacy organizations expressing our strong opposition to the proposed language of the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act of 2013 (FIRST). 

February 22, 2013
John Holdren, director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, released a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies.  The memo, Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research, is the Obama Administrations response to last year’s We the People petition.

Please see the ALA Washington Office's District Dispatch blog post on February 25 titled We asked and the White House has responded! for additional information.

February 19, 2013
Through SPARC, the ALA joined with national and regional library, publishing, research and advocacy organizationsto send a  letter to Congressman Doyle, expressing our gratitude for hisleadership in introducing the Fair Access to Science and Technology Act, and for [his] long-standing commitment to the success of crucial public access policies”.

February 14, 2013
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act was introduced in both the House and Senate.

  • The Senate bill, S.350, was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and cosponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
  • The House bill, H.R. 708, was introduced by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA) and cosponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

Please see the ALA Washington Office's District Dispatch blog post on February 21 titled FASTR is the new FRPAA for additional information.

The American Library Association strongly supports S. 350 and H.R. 708 and encourages members of Congress to demonstrate their support by co-sponsoring the appropriate bill. Please utilize the LAC to ask your representatives to cosponsor these bills.

Additional Information

What do these bills mean for libraries and the public?

If passed, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would:

  • Require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million to develop a policy to ensure researchers submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Ensure that the manuscript is preserved in a stable digital repository maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.
  • Require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Require agencies to examine whether introducing open licensing options for research papers they make publicly available as a result of the public access policy would promote productive reuse and computational analysis of those research papers.

Essentially, the legislation would advance and expand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy which requires public access to taxpayer-funded research to an additional 11 agencies. The ability to search and access the archives of non-classified research of these agencies and departments − including 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 − would provide open online access to research. Undoubtedly, such an archive would allow librarians the ability to better assist library patrons with their information and research needs as well as allow direct access by the public.

Without the passage of S. 350/H.R. 708, taxpayer-funded research will continue to be inaccessible without an additional fee to those already funding it – the public.  In addition, the ALA has joined with Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), (for which ALA is a member) to advocate on behalf of legislation that calls for expanding public access to federally funded research.

Legislative History

112th Congress

  • S. 2096: Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) (introduced 2/09/12)

  • H.R. 4004: Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) Introduced 2/09/12)

May 21, 2012
Supporters of open access and H.R. 4004 FRPAA legislation petition the White House to increase access to taxpayer funded research.  A goal of 25,000 signatures is needed by June 19, 2012 to ensure the White House will review it and issue an official response.  Please see the ALA Washington Office’s District Dispatch blog post on May 21 titled Petition the White House to Open Access to taxpayer-funded research for additional information.

May 16, 2012
Corey Williams, senior lobbyist and associate director of Government Relations of the American Library Association’s Washington Office participated in the research panel “Knowledge and Innovation: Understanding Public Access to Research,” hosted by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation in Washington, D.C. The discussion focused on increasing public access to federally-funded research.

A panel of experts explored the broader contexts of open access following remarks by keynote speaker Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), sponsor of H.R. 4004, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (FRPAA).

“The proposed bill would level the playing field of access,” Williams said. “The public has already funded the research locked behind the pay wall. They shouldn’t have to pay a second time to access this research.”

Please see the ALA Washington Office's District Dispatch blog post on May 17 titled ALA Advocates for Public Access to Federal Research at Brookings Institution Panel for additional information.

April 2012
In April more than 350 librarians and library supporters convened in Washington, DC to attend the American’ Library Association’s National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).  Representing all types of libraries the participants spent a day talking with members of Congress and their staff to advocate for librarians on key legislative issues. Likely not a coincidence is the fact that in the weeks immediately following NLLD a key legislative issue for libraries and the public – the Federal Public Research Access Act of 2012 (FRPAA) (S. 2096/H.R. 4004) – gained additional co-sponsors in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the Senate, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) joined co-sponsors Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), in support of the bill.  In the House, bill sponsor Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA) garnered additional support from four more colleagues, including Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), bringing the total number of House co-sponsors to 31.

March 29, 2012
The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a hearing on Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests. Additional information about the  hearing, including the list of witnesses and a link to the archived webcast, is available here

In addition, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), for which the American Library Association (ALA) is a member, posted a review of the hearing highlights and included a link to a letter (pdf) sent by SPARC, the ALA  and fiver other national and regional library organizations as a statement of support for FRPAA for the congressional record. 

March 20, 2012
The U.S. House version of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) of 2012 (H.R. 4004) gained 24 additional co-sponsors – joining Rep. Mike Doyle (D- PA), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), the original co-sponsors who were responsible for introducing the bill. In addition, Rep. Doyle held a Congressional briefing on the issue of public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research. 

Please see the ALA Washington Office's District Dispatch blog post on March 23 titled FRPAA gains co-sponsors and a Congressional hearing for additional information.

February 9, 2012
The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (FRPAA) bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support.  The identical bills are aimed at improving access to federally funded research.  

  • In the House, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (or FRPAA) (H.R. 4004) was introduced by Rep.  Doyle (D-PA) and co-sponsored by Reps. Yoder (R-KS) and Clay (D-MO), and referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 
  • In the Senate, a bill by the same name (S. 2096) was introduced late in the day by Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Hutchison (R-TX), and then referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

Please see the ALA Washington Office's District Dispatch blog post on February 10 titled It's FRPAA time! Pro-open access legislation introduced in House and Senate for additional information.

December 11, 2011
The ALA and the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) submitted comments in response to a request for information issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  The ALA and ACRL recommended approaches for ensuring long-term stewardship and broad public access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications that result from federally funded research.

January 4, 2011
On the eve of the 112th Congress, President Obama signed into law the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-358). The law enacted two open access-related initiatives.

  • The law establishes a working group to coordinate federal science agency research and policies related to the dissemination and long-term stewardship of the results of federally supported unclassified research.
  • The law requires the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in consultation with relevant federal agencies, to develop formal policies for the management and use of federal scientific collections, including policies for the disposal of collections, and to create an online clearinghouse for information on the contents of and access to federal scientific collections.

111th Congress

July 29, 2010
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee held a hearing on FRPAA, H.R. 5037.  The testimony of the ten witnesses, along with video of the hearing, is available here.  

April 15, 2010
Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (H.R. 5037), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies.  The bi-partisan supported bill mirrored the Senate version (S. 1373) introduced in June 2009.

January 12, 2010
The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) submitted comments to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) supporting increased public access to research funded by federal science and technology agencies.

110th Congress

September 29, 2009
The ALA Washington Office submitted a letter to members of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, voicing our support for the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (S. 1373).  Specifically, the letter includds the resolution passed by the ALA Council at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference held in Chicago.

June 25, 2009
The much-anticipated bill S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009, was introduced. Sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Lieberman (I-CT), the bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. According to the bill language, its purpose is, “To provide for Federal agencies to develop public access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that agency or from funds administered by that agency.” 

109th Congress

In the 109th Congress the “Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006” ( S. 2695) was introduced and sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Sessions (R-AL) and Lieberman (D-CT).  The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs referred the bill to the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security.  No additional action occurred and the bill died.