Excerpted from Peter Suber's SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #97, May 2, 2006:
Earlier today, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (FRPAA) in the US Senate. This is giant step forward for OA, even bigger than the CURES Act that Senator Lieberman introduced in December 2005.
Like CURES, FRPAA will mandate OA and limit embargoes to six months. Unlike CURES, it will not be limited to medical research and will not mandate deposit in a central repository. It will apply to all federal funding agencies above a certain size. It instructs each agency to develop its own policy, under certain guidelines laid down in the bill. Some of those agencies might choose to launch central repositories but others might choose to mandate deposit (for example) in the author's institutional repository. Finally, while CURES was mostly about translating fundamental medical research into therapies, with a small but important provision on OA, FRPAA is all about OA...
What are the chances that FRPAA will pass? It's hard to say, but here are three signs in its favor. (1) Cornyn and Lieberman demonstrate that there is bipartisan support for the idea. Cornyn is a conservative Republican and Lieberman a moderate Democrat. (2) The boldest ideas in the bill, the access mandate and six month deadline, were approved by both Houses of Congress in the June 2004 instructions to the NIH and reaffirmed by every review panel since. (3) Since the NIH policy was adopted in its weakened form, Congress has seen no evidence of harm to journals and abundant evidence of low participation by researchers. The case for a mandate has only grown stronger since Congress asked for a mandate in June 2004.
For the full post, including a link to the text of the proposed bill, see: