This announcement was just posted to the Global Open Access List (GOAL). We think it's a great move forward in offering free access to federally funded research. Infodocket has several other links of interest, including analysis by Peter Suber. If you support FASTR, please tell Congress.
U.S. Representatives Introduce Bill Expanding Access to Federally Funded Research
Washington, DC, February 14, 2013
U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today introduced legislation to increase the openness, transparency, and accessibility of publicly funded research results.
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would require federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
"This bill will give the American people greater access to the important scientific research results they've paid for," Congressman Doyle said today. Supporting greater collaboration among researchers in the sciences will accelerate scientific innovation and discovery, while giving the public a greater return on their scientific investment.
"The scientific research community benefits when they are able to share important research and cooperate across scientific fields. Likewise, taxpayers should not be required to pay twice for federally-funded research," said Congressman Yoder. "This legislation is common sense,
and promotes more transparency, accountability, and cooperation within the scientific research community."
"Everyday American taxpayer dollars are supporting researchers and scientists hard at work, when this information is shared, it can be used as a building block for future discoveries," said Representative Lofgren. "Greater public access can accelerate breakthroughs, where robust collaborative research can lead to faster commercialization and immense benefits for the public and our economy."
Specifically, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act would:
- Require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more, whether funded totally or partially by a government department or agency, to submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript that has been accepted for publication in a
- 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.
An identical Senate counterpart of this legislation is also being introduced today by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
"FASTR represents a giant step forward in making sure that the crucial information contained in these articles can be freely accessed and fully
used by all members of the public," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing Academic Research Coalition (SPARC). "It has the potential to truly revolutionize the scientific research process."
This legislation would unlock unclassified research funded by agencies like the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.
The bill builds on the success of the first U.S. mandate for public access to the published results of publicly funded research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented their public access policy. It is estimated that approximately 80,000 papers are published each year from NIH funds.
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act echoes the interest in public access policies expressed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which has examined the mechanisms that would leverage federal investments in scientific research and increase access to information that promises to stimulate scientific and technological innovation and competitiveness.
Click here to read the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act.
From a press release from GPO:
President Obama’s State Of The Union Address Available On Gpo’s Federal Digital System
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) makes President Barack Obama's State of the Union address available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The public can access the President’s address in the Congressional Record, which is the official publication of the U.S. Congress.
Direct link to address: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2013-02-12/html/CREC-2013-02-12-pt1-Pg...
Carl Malamud posted the following to BoingBoing today:
"This bill would provide that the full text of the California Code of Regulations shall bear an open access creative commons attribution license, allowing any individual, at no cost, to use, distribute, and create derivative works based on the material for either commercial or noncommercial purposes."
Public.Resource.Org has bulk data for the CCR and the public safety codes (known as Title 24) online, but this would all be way easier if we didn't have to double-key the building codes every 3 years and jump on the West CD-ROM every 2 months to extract the data. This move would lead to tremendous innovation, just like we've seen when the Federal Register went open source in bulk.
The bill sponsor, Assemblyman Nestande, has a long background in public policy and IP. He was campaign manager for Sonny Bono's successful 1994 congressional campaign.
This site is a centralized federal resource for Smart Disclosure. Here you will find hundreds of government datasets that can help enable consumer choice; apps that demonstrate the power of Smart Disclosure; challenges for app developers; and resources to learn more about Smart Disclosure.
- Consumer.Data.Gov is Live!, by Sophie Raseman and Nick Sinai, whitehouse.gov (February 11, 2013).
The Community announced today is a first-of-its-kind centralized platform containing over 400 smart disclosure data sets and resources from dozens of agencies across government. Using the Community, entrepreneurs and innovators can access free Federal data to create the consumer applications, products, and services of the future -- all in one convenient location.
Some of you may remember Dr. Joel Weintraub's census talk at the 2012 ALA Annual conference in Anaheim, CA -- complete w a fire alarm and sobbing librarians. Because of that immensely interesting talk, My colleague Kris Kasianovitz and I decided to invite Dr Weintraub to speak about the history of the US census at Stanford University. He came last week (Monday 2/4/13) and gave an amazingly informative talk on the United States Decennial Census Manuscripts aka Enumerators' Notebooks, the history of the Census Questions, including controversial questions, undercounts, and truthfulness. For more on Dr Weintraub's census work see his 1940 census site and his collaborative work with Steve Morse.
The talk was co-sponsored by Stanford University Library, SUL Government Information Librarians and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).
The Government Printing Office has joined the social networking site Pinterest that "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things."
The GPO press release says:
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) expands its social media presence by joining Pinterest. Connecting people through 'things' they find interesting is the founding principle of Pinterest and a natural fit with GPO's core mission of Keeping America Informed on the three branches of the Federal Government. GPO will use Pinterest to share historic photos, videos, products, and Government publications with the public. Pinterest joins GPO's other social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Government Book Talk blog.
Link to GPO's Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/usgpo/
"GPO is constantly evolving and keeping up-to-date on public trends and the popular ways to access and share information," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "GPO's expansion of social media supports our mission of Keeping America Informed. Joining Pinterest is one more way GPO can engage the public and continue to serve as the official link between the Federal Government and public."
This was a mostly quiet week at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. Quiet enough that I would not normally put out an activity report, but there are two notable things I wanted to share with you.
ORPHANS - THE FINAL FOUR?
The adoption of Florida is pending. That leaves us with just four states waiting for volunteer government information specialists/enthusiasts to adopt them:
If you are interested in adopting one of these pages, please read our volunteer guide and make sure you can accept the responsibilities of a project volunteer. Then contact project coordinator Daniel Cornwall at email@example.com with a statement of interest and your favorite database from the page you are adopting.
CALIFORNIA'S DATABASE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS
As most government information specialists are aware, local government documents are probably the most elusive of all. California has taken a step to try to make their local government documents easier to find and use. I (and any other user of the State Agency Databases wiki) was made aware of this by Joel Rane, the volunteer for California. Here is his annotation of California's new resource:
California Local Government Documents - An extensive database of local government documents across the state; if a document is not online, a scanned copy is hosted by the Berkeley IGS. Includes access to local municipal codes and charters, searchable by city; documents related to land use and development issues, searchable by jurisdiction, type of planning document and year (at both county and city level); and budgets and financial reports for Bay Area cities, county budgets and annual financial reports, and annual reports from county grand juries, all searchable by keyword. A tremendous resource.
Hats off to UC Berkeley for putting this together and thanks to Joel Rane for making the rest of us aware of this new resource for one state's local documents.
Some of you may remember that we nominated Aaron Swartz for the ALA Madison award a few weeks ago and asked folks to write in letters of support to the Washington Office. Last week, there was a memorial for Aaron in Washington DC -- Rick Perlstein covered it well for The Nation, "Aaron Swartz's DC Memorial: Radical Brings Bipartisanship to Washington". Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, the 2012 Madison award honoree(!) and one of a number of Congressional members who attended Aaron's memorial, caught wind of the campaign to nominate Aaron for the Madison Award and sent in her own letter in support. She kindly allowed us to post the letter here.
Gregorio Sablan (D), rep of the Northern Mariana Islands has introduced into the House H.R.429, Northern Mariana Islands Federal Depository Library Act of 2013 which would amend Section 1905 of title 44 to permit the Delegate from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to designate Federal depository libraries.
The National Academy Of Public Administration has released its report on the Government Printing Office.
- Rebooting The Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age, A Report by a Panel of the National Academy Of Public Administration for the U.S. Congress, Congressional Research Service, and the Government Printing Office. National Academy Of Public Administration, Washington, DC (January 2013).
Congress mandated that the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) conduct a broad operational review of GPO. The Academy formed a five-member Panel of Fellows to conduct a ten-month study of the agency’s current role, its operations, and its future direction.
The report contains 27 finding and 15 recommendations. Depository libraries will be particularly interested in three findings:
- III-3: Preservation of the Legacy (Tangible) Government Collection
- III-4: Preservation of the Digital Government Collection
- III-5: Government Information Dissemination and Access
The report repeats many of the tropes about the digital government information that have become familiar over the years. Some of these bear repeating and others are more questionable.
Perhaps the most troubling suggestion in the report is GPO should consider "cost recovery" for access to FDsys:
Now may be the time for GPO to revisit charging the public for access to FDsys content. The Academy convened a forum of experts on printing and publishing where this topic was discussed extensively. Participants noted that technologies for online payments have progressed to the point that they cost very little to administer. Also, the public is becoming accustomed to paying fees for government services that used to be free (such as admittance to National Parks). Rather than charge a publication price, GPO could explore charging a small user fee to recoup the cost of providing access to government information on FDsys, or allowing users to view documents for free, and charging for document downloads. Forum participants also discussed the possibility of GPO exploring opportunities for repackaging files and content in different ways and making them available for sale to the public.
This model (as the report notes) was tried before with GPO Access and failed. We would argue that it failed not because the "technologies of online payments" were inadequate at the time, but because attempting to charge fees for information that was also available without fees was a fundamentally flawed approach. (We have written about this issue many times. See for example: Government Information in the Digital Age: The Once and Future Federal Depository Library Program and Privatization of GPO, Defunding of FDsys, and the Future of the FDLP.)
There is much more in the report and it deserves careful scrutiny.