Open-access advocates are heralding a Senate panel’s approval today of a bill that would require U.S. science agencies to make the peer-reviewed research papers they fund freely available to the public. Although a similar White House policy is already in place, supporters say the bipartisan measure—if approved by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president—would ensure the requirement stands through future administrations.
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act, approved by unanimous voice vote by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, requires that agencies that spend at least $100 million a year on research make the peer-reviewed manuscripts they fund freely available within 12 months of when the paper appears in a journal. That’s consistent with a 7-year-old policy at the National Institutes of Health and a directive to all U.S. research agencies that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued in February 2013. Agencies have begun steps to comply with the OSTP order.