The “red” versus “blue” state divide, most graphically captured in mapped results of the infamous United States presidential election battle between George Bush and Al Gore in 2000, has come to symbolize the political polarization of America. It may be surprising, therefore, to find a Republican from President Bush's decidedly red state of Texas and Gore's running mate, a Democrat from the blue state of Connecticut, agreeing on anything. Yet just such a pair has recently recognized that one issue, at least, rises above partisan forces: open access to publicly funded research. Senators John Cornyn (Texas) and Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut) have introduced a bill whereby federal agencies with research expenditure over US$100 million per year must ensure that research articles produced from their grants are deposited in an Internet-accessible public archive within six months of acceptance by a peer-reviewed journal. The bill, called the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (S.2695) (FRPAA), explains its rationale: “Congress finds that the Federal Government funds basic and applied research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries that result from the research, if shared and effectively disseminated, will advance science and improve the lives and welfare of people of the United States and around the world” [1]. And, no doubt gratifying to the bill's sponsors, a recent Harris poll shows that the American public is overwhelmingly in support of public access to federally funded research [2].

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