Past SPARC Policy Priorities

California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB 609)

Open Access

On September 29, 2014, bill AB 609 – the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. This is a first-of-its-kind state-level Open Access policy.

Background | News | Resources


This legislation requires researchers receiving a state-funded grant from the California Department of Public Health to submit an electronic copy of articles resulting from that grant and accepted for publication to a publicly accessible online database. In the event that a California State funded researcher already has to submit their publication to an open access database to satisfy requirements from other funding sources or their university, the researcher can simply supply the link to that article to the funding agency and the California State Library. No later than 12 months after publication, the work would become openly accessible, free of charge, to the public through the California State Library. An online bibliography of all the research papers publicly accessible under this policy would be produced, and each entry would be linked to the corresponding free online text.


The value of California’s investment in research is only maximized with wide use of the results of that research. People wishing to use these research results include healthcare providers, college students and professors, high school students taking STEM classes, biotech professionals, and interested citizens. Unfortunately, most research results are not available to all of these potential users because the vast majority of research funded with public dollars is available only with costly journal subscriptions, institutional licenses, or per article purchases. Single articles cost an individual approximately $30 each, and some journals cost schools up to $40,000 every year. The 10-campus University of California system spends nearly $40 million each year to buy access to academic journals, even though many of the articles are written, reviewed, and edited by UC professors as part of their research or academic scholarly duties.

California’s taxpayers fund this research and they have a right to expect that the results are available, and that they themselves have access to published results. To remain at the forefront of cutting-edge discoveries and innovations, we must make sure that this information is available to those who can translate this knowledge into public benefits.


25 Organizations Send Letter in Support of AB 609 to CA Senate
June 21, 2013

California Assembly Colleagues Fight to Provide Access to Taxpayer-Funded Research
California Newswire: June 3, 2013

Assembly Approves Bill to Make Grant-Funded Articles Free to Read Online
Palm Desert Patch: May 31, 2013

California: Open Access Bill Passes House Assembly, State Senate Next This Summer
Library Journal: May 30, 2013

Don’t Believe the Publishers’ Hype: Support Open Access
Electronic Frontier Foundation: May 23, 2013

SPARC Resources on The California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Legislation (AB 609)

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