America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, and Further OA Legislation update

On January 4, President Obama signed into law the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (Public Law 111-358), a statute that many have kept an eye on as a possible indicator of legislative receptiveness to broader public access initiatives. However, the bill’s adoption may actually have the effect of checking the advance of more progressive open access legislation, at least in the immediate short term. FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act) expired with the last Congress, and must now be reintroduced for a third time since it was first put on the table by Senators John Cornyn and Joseph Lieberman in 2006.

Aside from assigning funding to agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the COMPETES Act also stipulates the creation of in interagency Public Access Committee that would explore the feasibility of a broader open access mandate, such as that proposed by the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA).

In terms of defining the research under consideration for public access, the COMPETES Act language somewhat mirrors that of FRPAA, which would govern the research output of any “Federal agency with an annual extramural research expenditure of over $100,000,000.”

Excerpts from Library Journal, Jan. 20, 2011. Read the full article at: