Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) today introduced the Public Access to Public Science (PAPS) Act. This legislation would ensure public access to published materials concerning scientific research and development activities funded by federal science agencies, including 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). An embargo period is included to help balance publishers’ needs with public access goals. PAPS builds on efforts by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner: “It is past time to embrace a public access policy for scientific research. Currently, scholarly journals count on taxpayers footing the bill for research on the front end and access to the results on the back end. The federal government spends over $100 billion annually on research and development, but denies adequate access to the taxpayers who fund it. This bill would ensure Americans have access to the results of their investment.  Public access will also lead to less duplicative research, foster innovation, increase scientific breakthroughs and keep America on the cutting edge of science and technology. This is a pro-taxpayer, pro-science, pro-information sharing bill. And we’ve worked in conjunction with OSTP to ensure we are codifying the work they have done within the Science Committee’s Jurisdiction.”

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson: “I want to thank Mr. Sensenbrenner for his leadership on this issue.  I am delighted to join him in introducing this legislation.  Public access is an important topic across the scientific enterprise, and for budding scientists, start-up companies, garage inventors, and families everywhere.  Increased access and increased use of technology to enable and promote discovery across the corpus of scientific literature will advance the frontiers of science, medicine, and innovation across all sectors of our economy.  In 2009 and 2010, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee took a leadership role on public access, launching an open process that culminated in the 2013 OSTP guidance to all federal research agencies to develop public access plans.  In codifying OSTP’s guidance with this legislation, we strove to balance sometimes opposing concerns on the part of different stakeholder groups.  But as with any introduced bill, this remains a work in progress.  I look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Sensenbrenner and with all interested parties as we move forward.”