[Congressional Record: June 25, 2009 (Senate)]
[Page S7089]


      By Mr. LIEBERMAN (for himself and Mr. Cornyn):
  S. 1373. A bill to provide for Federal agencies to develop public 
access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that 
agency; or from funds administered by that agency to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I rise to introduce the Federal Research 
Public Access Act. I am very pleased to be joined again by my good 
friend and colleague, Senator Joe Lieberman, who has remained dedicated 
to seeing this important legislation passed. This bipartisan bill is 
the same legislation we introduced in the 109th Congress. The purpose 
of this legislation is to ensure American taxpayers' dollars are spent 
wisely, which is even more important now in this time of fiscal 
  To put things in perspective, the Federal Government spends upwards 
of $55 billion on investments for basic and applied research every 
year. There are approximately 11 departments/agencies that are the 
recipients of these investments, including: the National Institutes of 
Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Energy, 
the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture. These 
departments/agencies then distribute the taxpayers' money to fund 
research which is typically conducted by outside researchers working 
for universities, health care systems, and other groups.
  While this research is undoubtedly necessary and is beneficial to 
America, it remains the case that not all Americans are capable of 
experiencing these benefits firsthand. Usually the results of the 
researchers are published in academic journals. Despite the fact that 
the research was paid for by Americans' tax dollars, most citizens are 
unable to attain timely access to the wealth of information that the 
research provides.
  Some Federal agencies, most notably the NIH, have recognized this 
lack of availability and have proceeded to take positive steps in the 
right direction by requiring that those articles based on government-
funded research be easily accessible to the public in a timely manner. 
I am proud to report that the NIH's public access policy has been a 
success over the past few years. By the NIH implementing a 
groundbreaking public access policy, there has been strong progress in 
making the NIH's federally funded research available to the public, and 
has helped to energize this debate.
  Although this has surely been an encouraging and important step 
forward, Senator Lieberman and I believe there is more that can and 
must be done, as this is just a small part of the research funded by 
the Federal Government.
  With that in mind, Senator Lieberman and I find it necessary to 
reintroduce the Federal Research Public Access Act that will build on 
and refine the work done by the NIH and require that the Federal 
Government's leading underwriters of research adopt meaningful public 
access policies. Our legislation provides a simple and practical 
solution to giving the public access to the research it funds.
  Our bill will ask all Federal departments and agencies that invest 
$100 million or more annually in research to develop a public access 
policy. Our goal is to have the results of all government-funded 
research to be disseminated and made available to the largest possible 
audience. By speeding access to this research, we can help promote the 
advancement of science, accelerate the pace of new discoveries and 
innovations, and improve the lives and welfare of people at home and 
  Each policy that these departments and agencies develop will require 
that articles resulting from federal funding must be presented in some 
publicly accessible archive within six months of publication. In doing 
so, the American taxpayers will have guaranteed access to the latest 
research, ensuring that they do not have to pay for the same research 
twice--first to conduct it and then again to view the results.
  This simple legislation will provide our government with an 
opportunity to better leverage our investment in research and in turn 
ensure a greater return on that investment. All Americans stand to 
benefit from this bill, including patients diagnosed with a disease who 
will have the ability to use the Internet to read the latest articles 
in their entirety concerning their prognosis, students who will be able 
to find full abundant research as they further their education, or 
researchers who will have their findings more broadly evaluated which 
will lead to further discovery and innovation.
  While a comprehensive competitiveness agenda is still a work-in-
progress, this legislation is good step forward. Providing public 
access to cutting-edge scientific information is one way we can 
encourage public interest in these fields and help accelerate the pace 
of discovery and innovation. In promoting this legislation, I hope to 
guarantee that students, researchers, and every American can access the 
published results of the research they funded.