. . . . We were therefore gratified to see the bipartisan, bicameral reintroduction of FRPAA on February 9. By virtue of this legislation, all major US funding agencies would establish policies providing broad public access to their funded research through free online availability of the peer-reviewed articles that researchers develop through federal grants.
In essence, FRPAA would extend the highly successful public access policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. Because of this policy, the NIH now provides free online access to 2.4 million articles downloaded a million times per day by half a million users. University researchers account for 25% of these users, guaranteeing that they can build upon the broad range of research that the taxpayers have funded. Companies account for another 17%, showing that the policy benefits small businesses and corporations, who need access to scientific advances to spur innovation. Finally, the general public accounts for 40% of the users, some quarter of a million people per day, demonstrating that these articles are of tremendous interest to the taxpayers who fund the research in the first place and who deserve access to the results that they have underwritten.
By requiring other funding agencies to develop policies allowing public access to research, FRPAA would amplify the benefits of the NIH policy, providing even more benefits to researchers, business, and the public. These benefits work synergistically with our own institutional open-access policies by making more uniform the availability of research results and providing greater transparency of government-funded research. . . .