Policy & Advocacy

Public Access Language in the U.S. Innovation & Competition Act (USICA)

Open Access

The House and Senate are currently considering a key legislative package aimed at bolstering America’s science and technology investments. The Senate bill, called the U.S. Innovation & Competition Act (USICA), includes language that supports providing public access to taxpayer-funded research results. 

Section 2527 of USICA would codify the current policy established by President Obama’s 2013 White House Memorandum on Increasing Public Access to Federally Funded Scientific Research by “directing federal agencies funding more than $100 million annually in research and development expenditures to provide for free online public access to federally-funded research no later than 12 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals, preferably sooner.” 

This language signals Congress’ continued support for making taxpayer-funded research readily available and fully usable by scientists and the public alike. SPARC supports maintaining this provision, even as we continue to advocate for a zero-embargo national open access policy

Current Status: The combined 107 members of the House and Senate conference committee have officially kicked off negotiations. 

Background

In June 2021, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation & Competition Act, formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act. The bill included language, originally written by Senator Wyden (D-OR) and supported by Senator Paul (R-KY), that directs federal agencies funding more than $100 million annually in research grants to develop a policy that provides for free online public access to federally-funded research “not later than 12 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals, preferably sooner.” 

On the other side of the capitol, the House of Representatives passed its own version of the competition bill, entitled the America COMPETES Act of 2022, in February 2022. Although the bills have some overlapping provisions, the House version did not include the same public access language as the Senate’s USICA bill. The House and Senate must reconcile the two bills through a conference process before President Biden can sign the legislation into law.

Support for Public Access Language in USICA

  • Letter from Texas universities and libraries to Sen. Cornyn (April 29, 2022)
  • Letter from members of the Open Access Working Group to Sen. Cornyn (April 29, 2022)
  • Letter from the University of California, San Francisco Graduate & Professional Student Association (April 18, 2022)
  • Letter from members of the Open Access Working Group (March 31, 2022)
  • Letter from the Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate Student Executive Council (March 8, 2022)
  • Letter from the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (February 28, 2022)
  • Letter from the Cornell University Library (February 22, 2022)
  • Letter from the University at Buffalo Libraries (February 22, 2022)

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