Inside Higher Ed is reporting today that the provosts from 25 top universities -- including Linda Katehi, Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- is releasing a strongly worded letter in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (FRPAA). In their letter they point out that:
"We believe that this legislation represents a watershed and provides an opportunity for the entire U.S. higher education and research community to draw upon their traditional partnerships and collaboratively realize the unquestionably good intentions of the Bill’s framers – broadening access to publicly funded research in order to accelerate the advancement of knowledge and maximize the related public good.
… The broad dissemination of the results of scholarly inquiry and discourse is essential for higher education to fulfill its long-standing commitment to the advancement and conveyance of knowledge. Indeed, it is mission critical.
…Collectively, our universities engage in billions of dollars of funded research. On average, approximately 50% of our research funding originates with the federal government. That public investment – estimated at over $55 billion for the research covered by FRPAA – is complemented by our own institutional investments in research units, laboratories, libraries, and the faculty and staff whose expertise permeates them. FRPAA has the potential to enable the maximum downstream use of those investments.
…Each month the evidence mounts that open access to research through digital distribution increases the use of that research and the visibility of its creators. Widespread public dissemination levels the economic playing field for researchers outside of well-funded universities and research centers and creates more opportunities for innovation.
…Open access can also match the missions of scholarly societies and publishers who review, edit, and distribute research to serve the advancement of knowledge. ... Open access to publications in no way negates the need for well-managed and effective peer review or the need for formal publishing.
…FRPAA is good for education and good for research. It is good for the American public, and it promotes broad, democratic access to knowledge. While it challenges the academy and scholarly publishers to think and act creatively, it need not threaten nor undermine a successful balance of our interests. If passed, we will work with researchers, publishers, and federal agencies to ensure its successful implementation. We endorse FRPAA’s aims and urge the academic community, individually and collectively, to voice support for its passage."
Posted by Katie Newman at July 28, 2006 10:28 AM