US: Open letter on open access

The presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges released an open letter on Tuesday endorsing the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, a bill aimed at increasing public access to academic research that is funded by the federal government, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed. The bill would require certain federal agencies - those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually - to require peer-reviewed journals that publish that research to make it available for free on the web after six months.

It would be "a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers," according to the presidents' letter. The signatories note that both faculty who wish to stay current on research and students who aspire to doctoral degrees stand to lose out as academic journals grow prohibitively expensive. It is not a new argument, nor is it a new bill. A similar piece of legislation died in the Senate in 2006. Liberal arts presidents belonging to the same library consortium (the Oberlin Group) wrote a similar letter then, too.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site