The “taxpayer access to publically funded research act” (TAPFR) is now active in the New York State Legislature. TAPFR is supported by the New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) and sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) – pictured above.
TAPFR establishes that the published results of publically funded research be openly and electronically accessible to all members of the public.
“The academic and research libraries of New York applaud the vision of Assemblyman Hevesi,” said NYSHEI Executive Director Jason Kramer. “Mr. Hevesi understands that taxpayers deserve access to the research results they paid for.”
“Access to information is a matter of public interest. It advances innovation and the application of new knowledge. Open access benefits our schools, communities, economy, and authors. I urge the full legislature to support this bill,” said Kramer.
TAPFR was inspired by HR 5037, the federal research public access act (FRPAA), and the open access success of the National Institutes of Health embodied in the development of PubMed Central.
If enacted, New York would become the first state to adopt a measure to ensure open access to publically funded research. The State of New York spends around $50 million annually in direct research support, the majority of which flows through the state Department of Health in support of stem cell research.
New York taxpayers annually fund more than $50 million in basic and applied research and projects. This public investment often leads to results that are published in a variety of academic journals.
Because taxpayers underwrite this research they have a right to expect that dissemination and use will be maximized for public benefit, and that they themselves will have access to the published results.
While publically funded research in New York is small compared to the federal investment, the federal government has taken significant steps toward open access policies.
The first executive order of President Barack Obama created the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. This directive has evolved into the Open Government Partnership and a national action plan. A key component of this plan is a call to promote accessibility of data produced through publically funded research.
A sterling example of the benefits of open access is the Public Access Policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under President George W. Bush. In establishing free public online access to articles reporting on the results of research for which they paid, taxpayers have a remarkable resource. PubMed Central is a databank of more than two million full-text articles accessed by more than half a million users every day.
New York, by becoming the first among states to adopt an open access policy, would give its research and researchers an advantage over colleagues in other states. Making discovered knowledge more available leads to greater influence as the work is more available for citations. Additionally students, faculty, and the academic institutions themselves will benefit through lower costs and more access to peer-reviewed scholarship.
It is therefore in the public interest that every state agency, department, division, or public authority with a research budget, adopt a policy that requires:
each researcher funded totally or partially by New York State taxes submit an electronic copy of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal;
- that the manuscript is preserved digitally in a repository that provides free public access and long-term preservation; and,
- free, online access is publically available no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
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