Bill would make federal research public

May 3, 2006 at 7:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- Legislation has been unveiled in the senate requiring recipients of federal research grants to post their information online.

The Federal Research Public Access Act, co-sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Tex., and Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., would require public access within six months to research sponsored by 11 federal agencies that provide at least $100 million in outside funding per year including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Homeland Security as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the National Science Foundation, the Washington Post reports.

The proposed law comes out of an extended debate over whether the results of federally funded research should be free to the public. Proponents say the availability of the information will help other researchers build on scientific advances.

Opponents say that the peer review process used by scholarly journals is essential, difficult, and expensive and could not be supported by a business model where articles are given away for free.

Last year, the National Institutes of Health launched a program encouraging research grant recipients to make their findings public within a year of publication, but only percent of researchers actually did so.

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