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UNIVERSITY SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC ACCESS ACT EXPANDS - Library groups commend twenty-three provosts for joining recent surge of support

For Immediate Release
August 3, 2006

Library groups commend twenty-three provosts for joining recent surge
of support

Washington, DC - August 3, 2006

Just one week after more than two dozen leading universities 
declared their strong support for the Federal Research Public 
Access Act of 2006 (S.2695), provosts from an additional 23 
universities added their backing in a letter issued by the 
Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) and in individual 
correspondence. This brings the total to at least 48 universities 
that have gone on record as favoring the measure.

The Federal Research Public Access Act was introduced on May 2, 
2006 by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). 
It requires federal agencies that fund over $100 million in 
annual external research to make electronic manuscripts of 
peer-reviewed journal articles that stem from their research 
publicly available on the Internet. The U.S. government funds an 
estimated 50% of university research, making this a particularly 
important cause for the higher education community.

The GWLA letter reads, in part: "Access to publicly funded 
research facilitates the open discussion needed to accelerate 
research, share knowledge, improve treatment of diseases, and 
increase human understanding. [The Public Access Act] is a 
crucial step in realizing this goal."

"With the passage of this bill, researchers across the United 
States will have access to the results of work supported by 
federal government funding, which will help advance scientific 
understanding at a faster rate," said David Pershing, Senior 
Vice-President, Academic Affairs, University of Utah. "No longer 
will knowledge created using public funds be limited to the 
wealthiest institutions and corporations. With everyone having 
access to up-to-date information, I am confident we will see a 
higher level of scientific research and innovation. This is a 
remarkable opportunity for educators and students across the 

Signatories of the GWLA letter include provosts and vice 
presidents for state and non land-grant institutions, such as the 
University of Washington and Rice University. Their names are 
added to those of another twenty-five institutions, including 
Harvard University and Arkansas State University, who on Friday 
jointly issued "An Open Letter to the Higher Education 

"The time is ripe for this legislation," added Rodney Erickson, 
Executive Vice President and Provost of The Pennsylvania State 
University, who signed the Open Letter. "Many of us in the 
academic community believe the process of making the findings of 
publicly supported research more widely available will stimulate 
further research and education, and that is our primary mission 
as universities."

"GWLA member libraries and administrators support the Public 
Access Act in principle and in practice," said Adrian Alexander, 
Executive Director of the Greater Western Library Alliance. 
"The implications for research stemming from this bill are 
widespread, profound, and utterly positive. We are pleased to add 
our voices in support."

Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing 
and Academic Resource Coalition), added, "This groundswell of 
commitment from the provost community is a significant indication 
that the Federal Research Public Access Act has strong support in 
the higher education community in the United States."

The GWLA letter, available online today, is at http://www.gwla.org/

The Open Letter to the Higher Education Community signed by twenty-
five provosts and issued on July 28, 2006 is online at http://

The American Association of Law Libraries, American Library
Association, Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries,
Association of College & Research Libraries, Association of Research
Libraries, Greater Western Library Alliance, Medical Library
Association, SPARC, and The Special Libraries Association encourage
taxpayers and other stakeholders in the scientific process to add
their support for this important legislation. Details are online at


Jennifer Heffelfinger
(202) 296-2296 ext.121