Join your UW colleagues and librarians for Going Public: Connecting Research and Community on Saturday, April 7 from 9am to 1pm at the Allen Library Research Commons.  This symposium will help you to expand your research beyond the academy regardless of your discipline.  Learn how community members can be your allies, colleagues, and cheerleaders.   Our experienced presenters and workshop leaders will help you to engage the public by:

Telling your compelling research story.

Collaborating with passionate citizens.

Finding your public voice.

Measuring your impact.

And more!

Register online today!  See you on Saturday, April 7!


There are licenses behind much of what we accomplish or use each day.  Mobile phones, social media platforms, and streaming media services all come with license agreements.  While the documents may be wordy, their concept is simple: a license is permission to do something we normally would not be allowed to do.  For example, licenses allow us to legally drive a car, go fishing, practice law, or use proprietary software.  License is an old word and an old concept.  It derives from the Latin licentia, which means freedom or licentiousness.

In the context of intellectual property, a license is permission to use someone else’s creation, such as an invention or music.  A license agreement may specify a limited duration, allowed uses, and a required fee.  In addition, a license may be exclusive or non-exclusive.

Leases go further, as they allow lessees to reap benefits of someone else’s property.  For example, leases may allow drilling for resources beneath the surface of the Earth or developing the sky overhead.


The Fair Access to Science and Technology Act, better known as FASTR, would require some federally funded research to be available to the public.  Specifically, FASTR applies to nonclassified research by government agencies and departments with annual extramural research expenditures of over $100 million.  Here’s how it works:

Upon publication, publishers would be the exclusive distributors of applicable peer-reviewed articles for a specified embargo period.  Following the embargo period, the research must be housed in a repository that provides public access and long-term preservation.  The embargo periods are different in the House and Senate versions of the bill.

Government mandates for public access to federally funded research are not new.  In the US, a 2013 policy memo directed some federal agencies to make plans to share their research publicly.  In 2014, a federal appropriations act had similar mandates.  This is the third Congress in which FASTR has been introduced.  FASTR’s predecessor, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), was also introduced in three sessions of Congress beginning in 2006 but never became law.

Opponents of FASTR include the Association of American Publishers (AAP).  While the organization agrees with the premise of public access to taxpayer-funded research, it wants more flexible embargo periods than FASTR allows, and it argues that existing mandates serve the bill’s aims.

More information about FASTR is available through the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, better known as SPARC.