Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR): the new US open access bill

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BioMed Central welcomes a significant step forward for open access to publicly funded research in the United States, which came in the form of the bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) that was introduced in Congress on February 14 2013.

Sponsored by Senators Cornyn and Wyden and Representatives Doyle, Yoder and Lofgren, the bill requires that US Government agencies that fund research develop a “public access policy”.  As part of these policies articles must be preserved in a digital archive maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository, such as BioMed Central’s Open Repository, that permits free public access and enables productive reuse and long-term preservation.  The bill also states that all research be freely and publicly accessible within 6 months after publication.

This is the fourth time a US open access bill has been introduced to Congress, previously the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) in May 2006, April 2009, and February 2012. It is hoped that FASTR will get to the voting stage as the US open access movement gains further momentum, as Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts, states, ‘The quickest introduction is to say that FASTR is a strengthened version of FRPAA’, in his blog which explains some of the differences between the two, Peter has also set up a website with notes on the new bill.

Please act to support this bill today.