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Open Access: What Is FASTR?

This is a guide to issues in open access, author rights, copyright, open licensing, and scholarly communication.

Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act

The bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in Congress on Feb. 14, 2013 with a view to enable free online access to and lawful digital reuse of journal articles emanating from publicly funded research.  

Specifically, the bill would require federal agencies with annual extramural research expenditures of $100 million or more to mandate that the peer-reviewed manuscripts of journal articles resulting from publicly funded research be made freely available online within six months after the articles are published in scholarly journals.  The free public access would maximize the dissemination of the research findings, encourage robust reuse of the articles, and augment the return on government funding. 

Why Is FASTR Important?

FASTR is important to higher education because it:

  • enhances the visibility and recognition of publicly funded research at different institutions;
  • strengthens knowledge sharing through unfettered access to numerous research articles;
  • helps increase the impact of the research;
  • facilitates examination of research conducted at institutions that compete for federal funding;
  • enables computational analysis, text mining, data mining, and other innovative reuse of the research articles for the purpose of scholarship advancement; and
  • ensures long-term preservation of the research articles in designated digital archives. 

Ten library, publishing, research, and advocacy organizations have expressed their support for FASTR