ACRL and ALA call for increased public access to federally funded research

Contact: Jenni Terry
Press Officer
ALA Washington Office
(202) 628-8410
jterry@alawash.org

Kara Malenfant
ACRL
(312) 280-2510
kmalenfant@ala.org

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2010

Associations encourage members to do likewise by January 21

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) today 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.

The ALA and ACRL have long believed that ensuring public access to the fruits of federally funded research is a logical, feasible, and widely beneficial goal. They provided information and evidence as the Executive Branch considers expanding public access policies, like that implemented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to other federal agencies. Specifically, the ALA and ACRL recommend: which agencies should be covered, that policies should be mandatory, that earlier access is better, version and format recommendations, how to keep implementation costs reasonable, and the importance of supporting emerging scholarly practice.

While greater access to publicly funded research has long been a high priority issue for academic libraries, ACRL President Lori Goetsch, Dean of Libraries at Kansas State University, emphasized that now is the time for public and school librarians to tell their stories.

“What would it mean for members of your community to have better access to scholarly, scientific, and technical articles – paid with their own tax dollars through grants from agencies like NASA or the EPA?” Goetsch said. “How would it help small business owners starting up green technology companies? How would it help enhance teaching and learning in high schools?”

In the past, the ALA and ACRL have supported NIH Public Access Policy and endorsed “The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009” ( S. 1373) noting the latter, “reflects ALA policy regarding access to Federal government information by providing for the long-term preservation of, and no-fee public access to, government-sponsored, tax-payer funded published research findings.”

The ALA and ACRL encourage all members to consider making comments, no later than January 21, to OSTP as individuals or libraries. More information is available on the OSTP Public Access Policy blog at http://blog.ostp.gov/category/public-access-policy. Comments can also be posted on OSTP’s blog. Comments e-mailed to publicaccess@ostp.gov are also accepted, but may be posted to the blog by the moderator. General comments, addressing any part of the Request for Information, may be submitted. See the full notice Federal Register notice at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-30725.htm for details.

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The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit professional organization of more than 65,000 librarians, library trustees, and other friends of libraries dedicated to providing and improving library services and promoting the public interest in a free and open information society.

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), representing nearly 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.