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ARL, SPARC, Other Organizations Oppose FIRST Act

"first" rubber stampOn March 24, 2014, ARL, SPARC, and 14 other organizations sent a letter (PDF) to Chairman Smith (R-TX) and Representative Johnson (D-TX) urging them to modify the Frontiers in Innovation Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014 (H.R. 4186), which reauthorizes parts of the America COMPETES Act. The bill includes many deeply problematic provisions relating to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and also includes restricted provisions for public access to research results.

In the letter, the organizations stated:

the language in Section 303 of the FIRST Act calls for access to articles reporting on federally funded research to be restricted for up to three years after initial publication—allowing an initial 24-month embargo period, along with a possible additional one-year extension. This time frame is completely out of line with the policies in wide use around the world. Public funders, ranging from the European Commission to the Research Councils in the United Kingdom, as well as private funders ranging from the Wellcome Trust to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, all call for maximum embargo periods of no more than six to 12 months.

FIRST was approved by the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology on March 13 and is expected to be considered by the House Science Committee in April.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.

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