53 College Presidents Lead Newest Show of Support for Public Access Act

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 17:06:31 +0100

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2006 10:14:33 -0400
From: Jennifer Heffelfinger <jennifer_at_arl.org>
To: Alliance for Taxpayer Access <ATA-MEMBERS_at_arl.org>
Subject: [ATA-MEMBERS] 53 College Presidents Lead Newest Show of Support
    for Public Access Act

Alliance for Taxpayer Access
www.taxpayeraccess.org

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
September 6, 2006

53 College Presidents Lead Newest Show of Support for Public Access Act

Washington, DC ^÷ September 6, 2006 ^÷ Fifty-three liberal arts college
presidents from across the United States, representing twenty-two
states and approximately two-thirds of the institutions in the
Oberlin Group of Liberal Arts College Libraries, joined together to
sign a letter of support for the Federal Research Public Access Act
of 2006 (S.2695). The legislation, originally introduced by Senator
John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), would require
federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external
research to make manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles
stemming from that research publicly available via the Internet.

The letter, issued today, is the first from the highest academic
institutional level and added evidence that support for the Public
Access Act exists across the wide breadth of the higher education
community. The presidents^“ letter notes, ^”Academic libraries simply
cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that
their faculty and students need,^‘ and that ^”[the Act] will benefit
education, research, and the general public.^‘ The full text of the
letter is below and online at http://www.oberlingroup.org/about/
frpaa.pdf.

To the Higher Education Community:

As liberal arts college presidents, we are writing to express our
strong support for S. 2695, the Federal Research Public Access Act of
2006, which has been introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senators John
Cornyn (R-TX) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). This bill would require
federal agencies whose external research budgets exceed $100 million
to develop policies that would ensure public access via the Internet
to their funded research.

Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nation^“s
scientific and scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our
institutions are highly effective in producing graduates who go on to
obtain Ph.D. degrees in the sciences. Our faculty actively pursue
scientific research, much of it with government funding, and often
working in partnership with talented undergraduates who later become
productive scientists. Unfortunately, access to research information
paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our institutions--
and indeed at most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot
afford ready access to most of the research literature that their
faculty and students need.

The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward
in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is
paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $55 billion
in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes
of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally
funded research, produces an estimated 65,000 peer-reviewed journal
articles each year. Given the scope of research literature that
would become available online, it is clear that adoption of the bill
would have significant benefits for the progress of science and the
advancement of knowledge.

We are also supportive of the Federal Research Public Access Act
because it has been crafted in a way that provides ample protection
for the system of peer review. It provides a six-month window,
following publication in peer-reviewed journals, before manuscripts
are required to be openly accessible on the Internet. This embargo
period on access to publicly-funded research safeguards the interests
of scholarly societies and other publishers. In addition, the bill
leaves control of the final published version of articles, which is
generally used for citation purposes, in the hands of publishers.

Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize
access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will
benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the
higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of
Congress to support its passage into law.

[The list of 53 signatories is online at http://www.oberlingroup.org/
about/frpaa.pdf.]

###

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic,
research, and publishing entities that support expanded access to the
results of federally funded research, including passage of the
Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. The Alliance was formed
in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles on 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
http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.

Contact:
Jennifer Heffelfinger
jennifer_at_arl.org
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121


-------------------------------------
Jennifer Heffelfinger
Director of Communications
SPARC
jennifer_at_arl.org
(202) 296-2296 x121
Fax: (202) 872-0884
www.arl.org/sparc
Received on Wed Sep 06 2006 - 19:37:12 BST

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