ACRL endorses Federal Research Public Access Act

Contact: Ray English, Chair
ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee
For Immediate Release
May 2, 2006

ACRL endorses Federal Research Public Access Act

CHICAGO - The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) enthusiastically endorses The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, which has been introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT). This legislation would require that federally funded research appearing in peer-reviewed journals be made openly accessible in digital repositories within six months of publication.

Specifically the legislation would require:

  • All federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of 100 million or more to implement a public access policy
  • Researchers funded totally or partially by those agencies to submit electronic copies of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication
  • Peer-reviewed manuscripts to be preserved in digital repositories maintained by those agencies or in other suitable repositories
  • Free online access to taxpayer-funded manuscripts to be available as soon as possible and no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal

"The Cornyn-Lieberman bill is a landmark event in the ongoing effort to establish public access to federally-funded research," said Ray English, chair of ACRL's Scholarly Communications Committee. "The principle behind this proposed legislation is very simple - research funded by taxpayers should be readily accessible to the public. I encourage all academic librarians to work actively for its passage."

The Federal Research Public Access Act would not affect copyright laws. It also would not apply to classified research or to works not submitted or accepted for publication. The legislation exempts laboratory notes, preliminary data analysis, author notes, phone logs and other information used to produce the final manuscript.

The Act would extend and improve upon the public access policy of the National Institutes of Health, which was implemented in May 2005. That policy is voluntary for researchers and allows up to 12 months following publication for research to be made publicly accessible in NIH's PubMed Central online digital archive. NIH estimates that only four percent of eligible research is making its way into PubMed Central under their current policy.

ACRL will work with SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access to support adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act by Congress. ACRL strongly encourages all members to ask their U.S. senators to become co-sponsors of the Cornyn-Lieberman bill and also to express support to their representatives.

ACRL also endorses the public access provisions of the American Centers for CURES Act of 2005 (S.2104), introduced December 7 by Senator Lieberman and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), which would create the American Center for Cures to orchestrate focused research and development of specific solutions to pressing ailments and speed biomedical research and development.
The Center's mission would be to translate basic research into practical therapies.
Among its provisions, the CURES bill would establish free public access to articles stemming from research funded by agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The bill also would require that the research be made available in PubMed Central within six months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
It also stipulates that non-compliance may be grounds for the sponsoring agency to refuse future funding.

To view contact information for members of Congress, visit ALA's online Legislative Action Center at: For more information on the Conryn-Lieberman and CURES bills, see the Alliance for Taxpayer Access web site at:

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), representing more than 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.