Tuesday, 20 April 2010

FRPAA - another small step for mankind?

A letter of support for the FRPAA bill from the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, April 20th 2010

"To whom it may concern:

The reintroduction of the Federal Research Public Access bill, that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies, is a very hopeful development for the vast majority of researchers working in the economically disadvantaged regions of the world. Research institutes operating in developing countries are greatly restricted by their inability to access current research.

Yet we now understand that the major global problems waiting to be addressed and solved through research – climate change and environmental protection; infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, avian and human influenza; agriculture and food science for example - all require international knowledge and collaboration. The free exchange of research findings is critical to resolving the many problems facing mankind.

The increasing awareness and adoption of ‘openness’ in the United States and elsewhere is a hugely promising stance. In research publishing, the Open Access movement is advancing strongly and the introduction of the NIH Public Access Policy mandate, together with those adopted by all UK research councils, the Wellcome Trust and over 200 other major research organisations, including Harvard and MIT (see ROARMAP for a full list) is testament to the natural practice that scientists follow in sharing their findings. This ‘openness’ is mirrored in a number of developing country initiatives (for example in India, the CSIR government agency is successfully running an Open Source Drug Discovery programme), since it not only has benefits for the progress of research, but also demonstrates the research strengths of organisations and has been shown to lead to real economic benefits for countries (see 'The economic implications of alternative publishing models') .

The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development is an international Trust, registered in the UK, that has been working for over a decade to support the free exchange of research findings, not only between developed and developing country researchers, but also by raising the visibility of unique research emanating from the regions where the problems are most keenly experienced. We therefore greatly welcome the reintroduction of the FRPAA bill and know that its adoption would vastly enhance research progress throughout the world.

Barbara Kirsop, Trustee/Secretary
On behalf of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development
http://www.epublishingtrust.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 1059867"

1 comment:

Sally said...

A good post, a good argument for OA, a nice summary of the issue, yet sadly titled "small step for MANkind". Perhaps it's a reference to Armstrong stepping on the moon, but come on. It leaves me feeling sad that while we call for great progress, we still live in such an arcane, patriarchal world. Free the research, free the data, and free all people. Please talk about "HUMANkind". Thank you.