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Will California become more Open Access?

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Mandating Open Access is one of the most efficient ways to introduce and implement this publishing model in science. Despite the opinion that it may violate the freedom of scientific research, without official policies introduced by governments and backed up by the state funding, Open Access will not be able to develop. We can observe even now that governments are moving in that direction in Australia or the UK. Moreover, a good climate for Open Access has been also created in the US (see: White House Delivers New Open Access Policy), which is shown by the recent initiative in California.

“California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act” bill has been recently presented in California. The goal of this bill is to grant access to the results of scientific research for all taxpayer. If this law comes into force, the people will gain the access to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of research funded in whole or in part by California residents. How it is going to work?

“The bill ensures that recipients of state funding submit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed research into an open access repository within twelve months of publication. Each state agency would host these articles, and the California State Library would feature a centralized online bibliography linking to them.”

This announcement is a move in the right direction and clearly an effect of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) bill that was presented in Congress some time ago. However, the bill says nothing about the right to reuse research results and sets a 12 months embargo for new publications. Still, it is a huge progress and a chance for taxpayers to gain access to the fruits of science; it will also help institutions, universities, business and scholars themselves. Of course, the bill has not been put to vote yet, so anything could happen. Nevertheless, this initiative shows that the awareness of the need for the implementation of Open Access is also increasing at the level of government.

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