Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

53 liberal arts college presidents endorse FRPAA

The Oberlin Group has released an Open letter in support of FRPAA signed by the presidents of 53 liberal arts colleges. Excerpt:

As liberal arts college presidents, we are writing to express our strong support for S.2695, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006....

Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nation's scientific and scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our institutions are highly effective in producing graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D. degrees in the sciences. Our faculty actively pursue scientific research, much of it with government funding, and often working in partnership with talented undergraduates who later become productive scientists. Unfortunately, access to research information paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our insitutions --and indeed at most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that their faculty and students need....

Given the scope of research literature that would become available online, it is clear that the adoption of the bill wouuld have significant benefits for the progress of science and the advancement of knowledge.

We are also supportive of [FRPAA] because it has been crafted in a way that provides ample protection for the system of peer review. It incorporates a six-month window, following publication in peer-reviewed journals, before manuscripts are required to be openly accessible on the Internet. This embargo period...safeguards the interests of scholarly societies and other publishers. In addition, the bill leaves control of the final published version of articles, which is generally used for citation purposes, in the hands of publishers.

Adoption of [FRPAA] will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of Congress to support its passage into law.

The letter is signed by the presidents of Albion College, Amherst College, Augustana College (IL), Austin College , Barnard College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Carleton College, Clark University, Coe College, Colby College, Colgate University, The College of Wooster, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Davidson College, Denison University, DePauw University, Dickinson College, Earlham College, Eckerd College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Haverford College, Kalamazoo College, Lafayette College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Macalester College, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Reed College, Rhodes College, Rollins College, Skidmore College, St. Olaf College, St. Lawrence University, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Trinity University (TX), Vassar College, Wabash College, Washington and Lee University, Wellesley College, Wheaton College (MA), Whitman College, and Willamette University.

Comment. These liberal arts college presidents are an important addition to the research university provosts who have already endorsed FRPAA. Liberal arts colleges deserve access to publicly-funded research as much as more research-intensive insitutions and have less access to it through subscriptions. Their support will matter to members of Congress representing the states where these colleges are located. I'm very proud to say that Earlham College, my own school, is on the list.