The Federal Research Public Access Act – What it is and why Sexy Archaeology supports it

The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) is a hot topic in the news.  For those of you who have been living under a rock, or have just missed the bullet, allow me to provide a quick summary of this bill.

Straight from the Bill:

FRPAA would mandate that each Federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100,000,000 shall develop a Federal research public access policy that is consistent with and advances purposes of the Federal agency.

In layman’s terms, each year, the federal government funds billions of dollars in basic and applied research. Most of this funding is concentrated within 11 departments/agencies. The research results typically are reported in articles published in a wide variety of academic journals. FRPAA proposes to make manuscripts reporting on federally funded research publicly available within 6 months of publication in a journal.

You should be anxious to support this bill if you believe that you as a taxpayer are entitled to open access to peer-reviewed scientific articles on research funded by the U.S. Government.  It is no secret that widespread public access to the information contained in these articles is an essential component of our nation’s investment in science.  This and other scientific information should be shared in cost-effective ways that take advantage of the Internet, stimulate further discovery and innovation, and advance the translation of this knowledge into public benefits.  Passage of this bill would result in enhanced access to information by millions of scientists, professionals, and individuals, and will deliver an accelerated return on the taxpayers’ investment.

So far, there has been an incredible roll out of support for this bill by individuals across the country.  In our own archaeoblogosphere, there has been excellent commentary on Doug’s Archaeology, Savage Minds, and John Hawks blog.  But would you believe the American Anthropology Association this week took a public stand on open access?  Yup, it seems AAA is in full support of the initiative to stop taxpayers from viewing what they paid for.  Fortunately, members aren’t happy.  In fact, several members have quit over AAA’s announcement.

Open access needs the support of sexy archaeologists across the US.  You can help promote FRPAA by taking these steps:

1) Contact Congress now to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and for this bill.

2) Issue a public statement of support from your organization and share it widely with members, colleagues, and the media.

3) Join the Alliance for Taxpayer Access to support the continued advancement of public access to research in the U.S. Institutional.  Membership is FREE.

4) Spread the word on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.  Use creative hashtags like #PassFRPAA, #SupportOpenAccess or #AAAFail .

Or take it a step further by following in the footsteps of Jeremy Trombley who announced on his blog this week he is willing to put his career on the line in support of this bill by only publishing in open access journals.  Whatever you do, don’t stand idly by when science needs you.