Open Access: Markup of Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act Reduces Embargo Period

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has marked up the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act (FIRST Act), significantly reducing the embargo period for making works open access.

Here's an excerpt from "FIRST Act Amended to Make Open Access Provision Actually Pretty Good":

Calling this [Section 303 in the prior version of the bill] a "public access" section is a charitable reading: it extended embargo periods to up to three years, it allowed for simple linking to articles rather than the creation of an archive, and it delayed implementation unnecessarily long. (We've ranted about this bill time and again.)

But a glimmer of hope appeared at yesterday's markup. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Zoe Lofgren, introduced an amendment that radically changed Section 303. The new amendment [pdf] maps closely onto Sensenbrenner's Public Access to Public Science Act (H.R. 3157). It sets the embargo period at 12 months (like the NIH's current policy), though it allows stakeholders to extend this by 6 months if they can show a "substantial and unique harm." The amendment was also designed to facilitate long-term preservation, broad analysis of works, and closer investigation of broad copyright licenses. The current version is not perfect, but it is much improved—huge kudos to Sensenbrenner and Lofgren for standing up for open access.

Read more about it at "Revised FIRST Bill Would Give Science Agencies 1 Year to Make Papers Free."

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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.