AAP STATEMENT ON FASTR ACT

Thursday, 14 February 2013 | Andi Sporkin

“Different Name, Same Boondoggle”

Washington, DC; February 14, 2013 — Calling it “different name, same boondoggle,” the Association of American Publishers said today that the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act is unnecessary and a waste of federal resources.

The bill revives the majority of the terms set out in the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which was introduced without further action in each of the last three Congresses. It would require federal agencies to undertake extensive, open-ended work already being performed successfully by the private sector. It would add significant, unspecified, ongoing costs to those agencies’ budgets in the midst of ongoing federal deficit reduction efforts. Finally, it would undermine publishers’ efforts to provide access to high-quality peer-review research publications in a sustainable way, while ignoring progress made by agencies collaborating with publishers to improve funding transparency.

“This bill would waste so much taxpayers’ money at a time of budgetary crisis, squander federal employees’ time with busywork and require the creation and maintenance of otherwise-unneeded technology,” said Allan Adler, General Counsel and Vice President, Government Affairs, AAP, “all the while ignoring the fact that its demands are already being performed successfully by the private sector.”

AAP also noted:

The bill ignores crucial distinctions among federal agencies and scientific disciplines and would attempt to shoehorn every group into a one-size-fits-all mandate on publication methods and embargo periods.

FASTR disregards what is being accomplished through public-private partnerships and agency collaborations such as the CrossRef "FundRef" pilot to standardize funding source information for scholarly publications

The bill would require agencies to undertake extensive new duties and reporting requirements while also requiring them to invest in new taxpayer-funded technology resources and systems. FASTR would demand that federal agencies’ staffs develop and implement processes to collect materials, create and permanently maintain redundant digital repositories — resources that are currently in place — and fulfill new government requirements for studies and analyses.

Adler added, “Such systems and protocols are already in place, functioning effectively. Researchers should not be required to duplicate what’s available to them and taxpayers shouldn’t be stuck footing the bill for it too.”