Nobel Prize-winning scientists to Congress: Make available publicly funded research in an Online Repository

Nobel Prize-winning scientists urge Congress to act to ensure free online access to federally funded research results

Published Nov 10, 2009

Media advisory
For immediate release
November 10, 2009

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org

Washington, DC – “For America to obtain an optimal return on our
investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as
broadly as possible,” is the message that forty one Nobel Prize-winning
scientists in medicine, physics, and chemistry gave to Congress in an
open letter delivered yesterday. The letter marks the fourth time in
five years that leading scientists have called on Congress to ensure
free, timely access to the results of federally funded research – this
time asking leaders to support the Federal Research Public Access Act
of 2009 (S.1373).

The Nobel Prize-winners write:

As the pursuit of science is increasingly
conducted in a digital world, we need policies that ensure that the
opportunities the Internet presents for new research tools and
techniques to be employed can be fully exploited. The removal of access
barriers and the enabling of expanded use of research findings has the
potential to dramatically transform how we approach issues of vital
importance to the public, such as biomedicine, climate change, and
energy research. As scientists, and as taxpayers too, we support FRPAA
and urge its passage.

The bi-partisan Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA),
introduced by Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Cornyn (R-TX), would
deliver online public access to the published results of research
funded through eleven U.S. agencies and departments, requiring that
peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from publicly funded research
be made available in an online repository no later than six months
after publication.  

The Nobelists note that enabling access to this information would be
an important contribution in fostering innovation and fueling positive
economic and social returns:

The open availability of federally funded
research for broad public use in open online archives is a crucial
building block in laying a strong national foundation to support
accelerated discovery and innovation.  It encourages broader
participation in the scientific process by providing equitable access
to high-quality research results to researchers at higher education
institutions of all kinds – from research-intensive universities to
community colleges alike. It can empower more members of the public to
become engaged in citizen science efforts in areas that pique their
imagination. It will equip entrepreneurs and small business owners with
the very latest research developments, allowing them to more
effectively compete in the development of new technologies and
innovations.  Open availability of this research will expand the
worldwide visibility of the research conducted in the U.S. and increase
the impact of our collective investment in research.

The full text of the letter is online at

The Federal Research Public Access Act would build upon the success
of the first U.S. requirement for public access to publicly funded
research, through the National Institutes of Health. It is widely
supported by a broad set of stakeholders, including: scientists, higher
education leaders, librarians, consumer and economic groups (including
the Committee on Economic Development), technology companies (including,, Bloomberg, eBay, Google, Yahoo!, and state and
local ISPs), publishers, patients and patient advocates, and major
national and regional research organizations. For full details on
support for the Act, visit  

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access calls on organizations and individuals to write in support of the bill through the Web site at

For more information about the Federal Research Public Access Act, visit


The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of advocacy,
academic, research, and publishing organizations that supports open
public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance
was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from
taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online
at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be
found at

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