July xx, 2015
I am writing to express support for S. 779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act of 2015. This legislation provides the public with increased access to the results of research funded by the federal government.
This bill represents an important stride towards creating conditions that leverage the digital environment, by ensuring that the information contained in articles reporting on taxpayer funded scientific research can be freely accessed and fully reused in the digital environment. Access to the information contained in these articles is an essential component of our nation’s investment in science, and should be widely shared with the public. Yet most taxpayers – including scientists – cannot readily gain access to all the research paid for with their taxes Public access to research is important because it ensures that taxpayers receive the full return on their investment in publicly funded research. By removing barriers in the sharing and use of research, we can speed the pace of scientific discovery, and encourage new, interdisciplinary approaches to research challenges.
Open Access policies, such as the one pioneered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and expanded by the 2013 White House Directive, provide for broad access to the results of government-funded research. Because U.S. taxpayers directly fund this research, they have a right to expect that its distribution and use will be maximized, and that they themselves will have access to it. Greater availability of scholarly and scientific articles expands the impact of research, spurs the advancement of knowledge, and increases the return on research investments.
Thank you for your attention to this issue.