Each year, the U.S. government funds research grants to produce papers and reports for journals that remain largely inaccessible to most Americans due to subscription fees. Recent proposals have called for research funded with public money to be made publicly available. The Federal Research Public Access Act aims to change the current system, and make much government-funded research freely available within six months of publication. While few can argue against transparency, discussions about the complex ecosystem of scholarly research can lead to a broader examination of the modern knowledge economy, and its basis on principles of both profit and sharing.
On May 16, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), sponsor of the Federal Research Public Access Act, to discuss the government’s role in research publication. Following the Congressman’s keynote, a panel of experts explored the broader contexts of open access, the complexities of government mandate, and the role of research publication in innovation. Congressman Doyle and the panel took questions from the audience after each presentation.