In an open letter submitted on November 6, 2009, 41 Nobel laureates urged Congress to act on the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), bi-partisan legislation introduced by Senators Lieberman and Cornyn to ensure that research funded by federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) are made available to the public via the Internet within 6 months of publication.
"For America to obtain an optimal return on our investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible....The open availability of federally funded research encourages broader participation in the scientific process by providing equitable access to high-quality research results to researchers at higher education institutions of all kinds....It will equip entrepreneurs and small business owners with the very latest research developments, allowing them to more effectively compete in the development of new technologies and innovations."
Public access to research will have great positive impact on nanomanufacturing and its engaged disciplines. For example, the National Science Foundation funds four Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers with an explicit focus on nanomanufacturing—all NNN affiliates—which together have produced nearly 400 research publications and conference proceedings in the 2008 - 2009 calendar year alone.
According the the Alliance for Taxpayer Access' November 10 press release on the Letter, FRPAA is supported by a wide range of stakeholders, from scientists to consumer and economic groups to publishers. Public access to research would provide a great value to all members of the nanomanufacturing community, regardless of their institutional or professional affiliations.