Notes on the Public Access to Public Science Act

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PAPS provisions

  • PAPS requires covered federal agencies to develop public-access policies (Section 2.a).
    • There are four covered agencies: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Weather Service (NWS) (7.1).
  • PAPS requires that agency policies:
    • apply to "any peer-reviewed research results published in scholarly publications that are based on research funded in whole or in part by a covered agency" (7.2)
    • not apply to conference presentation, lab notes and other unpublished material not included in final manuscripts, classified research, work not submitted to a peer-reviewed publication, or work rejected by a peer-reviewed publication (7.2).
    • "allow the public to read, download, and analyze by machine covered works in digital form" (2.b.1)
    • "facilitate easy public search of, analysis of, and access to covered works" (2.b.2)
    • "encourage public-private collaboration to (A) maximize the potential for interoperability between public and private platforms; (B) avoid unnecessary duplication of existing mechanisms; and (C) maximize the impact of the covered agency’s research investment" (2.b.3)
    • "ensure that attribution to authors, journals, and original publishers is maintained" (2.b.4)
    • "ensure that publications and metadata are stored in an archive that — (A) provides for long-term preservation and access to full content of the covered work without charge, where appropriate, and balancing cost and public value; (B) uses a standard, widely available, and, to the extent possible, nonproprietary archival format for text and associated content, including images, video, and supporting data; (C) provides access for persons with disabilities consistent with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d); and (D) enables integration and interoperability with other public access repositories" (2.b.5)
    • "ensure full public access to covered works’ metadata without charge upon first publication in a data format that ensures interoperability with current and anticipated future search technology. Where possible, the metadata shall provide a link to the location where the full text and associated supplemental materials will be made available at the end of the applicable embargo period" (2.c)
    • include "a strategy for maintaining a repository or repositories, either within the covered agency or through an arrangement with another Federal agency or agencies or through an arrangement with a public or private entity, if consistent with the purposes of this Act, including free public access in perpetuity, interoperability, and long-term preservation, so long as the covered agency maintains an active web link to the repository or repositories for public access" (3.a.2)
    • include "a strategy for incorporating existing covered works into the repository or repositories required under paragraph (2) to the extent practicable" (3.a.3)
    • include "a strategy for notifying research funding recipients of their obligations under this Act" (3.a.4)
    • include "a strategy for taking into account different funding models for scholarly publishing, including author-pays fees, in the covered agency’s grant and other funding mechanisms" (3.a.5)
    • include a default embargo period (6.a) of 12 months (7.3).
    • include "a mechanism for a stakeholder to petition to change the embargo period...for specific covered works by presenting evidence that the public interest will be substantially and uniquely harmed under a covered agency’s public access policy related to such work. If a covered agency determines that the public interest will be substantially and uniquely harmed upon reviewing the petition, the covered agency may change the embargo period by no more than 6 months at a time from its current embargo period" (6).
    • remain consistent with copyright law (2.a, 4.c).
  • In developing their policies, agencies must "use a transparent process for soliciting views from stakeholders, including federally funded researchers, institutions of higher education, libraries, publishers, users of federally funded research results, and civil society groups" (3.b). They must also "collaborate and coordinate with other Federal agencies to maximize the consistency and compatibility of public access across the Federal Government" (3.c).
  • If PAPS is enacted, agencies must submit their policies to the House Science Committee and House Commerce Committee no later than six months from the date of enactment (3.d), and start implementing their policies no later than one year after they submit their policies to the Committees (4.a).
  • See the text of the bill from the office of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the co-sponsors in the House.
    • Also see Sensenbrenner's September 19, 2013 press release announcing the introduction of the bill.

PAPS in the 113th Congress

  • PAPS has not been introduced in the Senate.