SPARC has released Small Steps Matter: FASTR Passes Senate Committee Hurdle by Heather Joseph.
Here's an excerpt:
With its action today, the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) advanced the cause of public access to publicly funded research articles another crucial step. In a unanimous voice vote, the Committee approved S. 779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act which now positions the legislation to be considered by the full Senate.
This marks the first time that a U.S. Senate Committee has acted on a government-wide policy ensuring public access to the results of publicly funded research and signals that there is deep support for the ideal that taxpayers have the right to access to the research that their tax dollars fund. This action continues the steady march towards enabling fast, barrier-free access to research articles that got its start with the establishment of a voluntary NIH policy in 2005, and slowly progressed with legislation shifting that policy to mandatory in 2008, again in 2010 with the America COMPETES Act and most recently with the 2013 White House OSTP Directive on public access. . . .
Today's progress on FASTR is another step in this long march. Under the leadership of Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Wyden (D-OR), FASTR provides the statutory framework needed codify the White House OSTP Directive, which was issued with the goal of accelerating scientific discovery and fueling innovation. While 13 federal agencies and departments have released their initial plans, the reality is that the OSTP Directive is not law, and can be easily overturned by a subsequent Administration. Should FASTR continue on course and be passed by both chambers of Congress, free, fair public access to research articles will become the law of the land – and not just the preference a President.