Notes on the Federal Research Public Access Act

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The bill itself

  • The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) would strengthen the OA mandate at the NIH by reducing the maximum embargo period from 12 months to six months, and extend the new strengthened mandate to all the major agencies of the federal government.
  • It wouldn't directly specify agency access policies, but require agencies to develop their own policies within the framework laid down in the bill. If it passes, agencies would have one year to develop their policies. The FRPAA framework requires them to mandate OA to agency-funded research. It doesn't stipulate the timing of deposits, but does stipulate that the deposited copies must become OA no later than six months after publication.

/// FRPAA asks agencies to come up with their own policies within the general guidelines laid down in the bill. It's not a one-size-fits-all solution and agencies are free to differ on the details. They would have one year from the bill's passage to frame their own policies.

Like the NIH policy, FRPAA applies to the authors' peer-reviewed manuscripts, not to the published editions of their articles. Like the NIH policy, it allows consenting publishers to replace the peer-reviewed manuscripts with the published editions.

Unlike the NIH policy, FRPAA doesn't specify the OA repository in which authors much deposit their manuscripts, the way the NIH specifies PubMed Central. FRPAA leaves this decision up to the individual agencies. They could host their own repositories or make use of existing repositories, including the institutional repositories of their researchers. FRPAA only requires that the repositories meet certain conditions of OA, interoperability, and long-term preservation. Also unlike the NIH policy, which allows 12 month embargoes, FRPAA caps permissible embargoes at six months. Actually, it requires OA "as soon as practicable, but not later than 6 months after publication". For researchers employed by the federal government, and not merely funded by the federal government, FRPAA allows no embargo at all.

FRPAA would apply to all unclassified research funded in whole or part by agencies whose budgets for extramural research are $100 million/year or more. This includes the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

FRPAA would mandate OA for more research literature than any other policy ever adopted or ever proposed.

Current version of the bill

  • In the 112th Congress
    • FRPAA in the Senate (S. ///)
    • FRPAA in the House (H.R. ///)
      • Introduced February 7, 2012 by Mike Doyle (D-PA) ///

Previous versions of the bill

Action in support of FRPAA

Discussion and analysis