After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act” up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules.
There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment
- Replaces the six month embargo period with “no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner,” as anticipated; and
- Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the 12 months does not serve “the public, industries, and the scientific community.”
We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things:
- Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive;
- Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo;
- Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and
- Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community.
The language requiring a GOA analysis of the desirability of all agencies adopting CC-BY license remains intact, as does the language directing the agencies to control the ultimate location of their funded articles.
This is the first time a Senate Committee has actively debated such a potentially far-reaching Public Access policy since the NIH policy was passed. We expect things to remain quite active, with those continuing to strenuously oppose the bill remaining vocal right up through Wednesday’s mark-up. Please do not stop reaching out to your Senators, and to Members of HSGAC in support of the bill. The Twitter campaign around the hashtag #MoveFASTR continues to be active; please do encourage people to continue tweeting, and to tweet directly at their Senate representatives where possible.
If you have any questions about these changes or the process going forward, please don’t hesitate to contact the SPARC office!