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Scholarly Publishing: Open Access Legislation

A guide to scholarly publishing and scholarly communication activities at Himmelfarb Library.

US National Legislation: The NIH Initiative

Congress became involved in the open access debate in 2004, as the U.S. House Appropriations Committee recommended that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) develop a policy that would require free Internet access of any articles from NIH-funded research within six months of publication in a journal. This "requirement" was subsequently changed to a "request". The recommendation was released in February of 2005, and changed the original "within six months" request to "as soon as possible" (and within twelve months) after publication.

Due to low compliance with the NIH request, Congress mandated submitting manuscripts of NIH-funded research to PubMed Central, a national open access repository. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 required all NIH-funded research articles to be made publicly available through PubMed Central within twelve months of publication.

Joseph, H. (2008). From Advocacy to Implementation: The NIH Public Access Policy and Its Impact. Journal of Library Administration, 48(2), 207-217. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

US National Legislation: FASTR

The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in Congress on February 14, 2013. Co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS), and Lofgren (D-CA), FASTR would accelerate scientific discovery and fuel innovation by making articles reporting on publicly funded scientific research freely accessible online for anyone to read and build upon.

The Act would require that US Government departments and agencies with annual research expenditures of over $100 million, which includes the Department of Health and Human Services, make manuscripts of journal articles stemming from research funded by that agency publicly available over the Internet. The manuscripts will be preserved in a digital archive maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation. If FASTR is signed into law, each manuscript would be available to users without charge within six months after it has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

FAQ for the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR). (2013). In Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. Retrieved July 25, 2013 from

International Open Access Initiatives

From approximately 2000-2004 various bodies held conferences to debate the definitions and policies that shape the development of the open access movement. In 2001, international representatives from all academic disciplines held a conference in Budapest. A statement of principle, strategy, and commitment, called the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), was signed by these conference participants. A continually growing number of individuals and organizations worldwide are signing the BOAI in support various open access initiatives. BOAI supports many of the other initiatives, such as The Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing or the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. These initiatives both developed definitions of open access that ensure that users may freely access and use open access materials as soon as they pass through the peer review process, and that the work must be digitally archived to ensure long-term access.