Federal research at your fingertips

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By Joshua Ostrer

The White House has proposed a novel idea: Make all federally funded research free to the public online.

The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) will require all 11 agencies with an annual budget of over $100 million to make their research easily accessible to the public online.

The 11 agencies included in FRPAA are: The Department of Agriculture, The Department of Commerce, The Department of Defense, The Department of Education, The Department of Energy, The Department of Health and Human Services, The Department of Homeland Security, The Department of Transportation, The Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and The National Science Foundation.

While the bill was originally proposed in 2006 by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), it was reintroduced in 2012.

But what really brought attention to FRPAA? The voices of 65,704 people.

That’s how many people signed a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website, where if enough people sign a petition, the White House promises a response.

Others believe the White House’s position on the issue stems from the death of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide after an intensive investigation into claims that he downloaded four million academic articles from JSTOR, a site that requires users to pay to view scholarly articles, some of which are funded by the United States government.

FRPAA could make a lot of information easily available to the American public in the near future.

 

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