Open Access to research publications – changes at home and abroad

Just yesterday in the US a new bill mandating Open Access to federally-funded research was introduced into both houses of Congress. It’s called the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, or FASTR.  The motivation behind this is strongly along the lines of making taxpayer funded research publicly available.  As you can imagine, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access has released a statement strongly supporting the bill with their call to action.

You can follow commentary about the FASTR bill via Twitter, using the hashtag #FASTR.

Why are we interested in this?  Well it follows closely on the heels of similar recent moves in the UK.  The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee have launched a short inquiry into open access, following the publication last year of the Finch Report on expanding access to published research findings.   This report looks at expanding access to peer-reviewed publications from research produced in the UK.  Shortly after the Finch Report was released, the Research Councils UK amended their policy on access to research supported by RCUK funds, providing block grants specifically for this purpose.  The University of Bath will be a beneficiary of a block grant, hence our (increased) interest in the activity (not to mention our Open Access mandate, and long standing support of the ‘Green’ route to OA).

The Lords Science Committee is due to publish their report on Friday 22nd February 2013.  The Business, Innovation and Skills committee have also announced an inquiry into the Government’s OA policy.  We will be following this with interest.  Any queries or comments on Open Access at Bath would be welcomed by the Opus team here in the Library – opus-support@bath.ac.uk.

About Kara

Head of Library Research Services at the University of Bath Library
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