California State Assemblyman Brian Nestande | District 42
2/20/2013 | Press Release

Nestande Introduces California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act

Rob Flanigan 916-319-2042
SACRAMENTO—Assemblyman Brian Nestande, (R-Palm Desert) introduced AB 609, a measure that will ensure the public can access the published results of taxpayer-funded research for free.  This bill will require each researcher receiving a state-funded grant to submit an electronic copy no later than six months after the work is published.  The completed work will become openly accessible, free of charge, to the public through the California State Library.
“California’s taxpayers fund this research and they have a right to expect that the results are available and accessible.  If we want California to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge discoveries and innovations, we must make sure that this information is available to those who can use and build upon this knowledge,” said Nestande.  “As taxpayers, we should not have to pay to gain access to vital research that our tax dollars paid for.”
California taxpayers invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually in research.  State research funding includes research and development by universities and state agencies, as well as efforts such as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and specific disease research programs.  The value of California’s investment is only maximized with wide use of these results. 
Dr. Michael Eisen, Associate Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley stated, “Californians are strong believers in science, evinced most recently by their approval of the $3 billion stem cell initiative.  Californians deserve full access to the fruits of the research they fund, including being able to read about the discoveries their dollars have enabled. This is why I strongly support this bill from Assemblyman Nestande, and urge all Californians to push for its rapid passage into law.”  Eisen is also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Most research results are not available to these users because the vast majority of research funded with public dollars is available only with costly journal subscriptions.  Single articles can cost up to $30 each, and some journals cost up to $40,000 each year.  The 10-campus University of California system spends nearly $40 million each year to buy access to academic journals, even though many of the articles are written, reviewed and edited by UC professors as part of their research or academic scholarly duties.
In 2008, National Institutes of Health adopted the Public Access Policy, which mandates that every paper written with the support of NIH grant money must be freely and publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.   Since the program started, more than two million articles have been made available.  This policy provides a remarkable resource to a wide range of taxpayers.  To promote a more transparent government and increase innovation opportunities in California, this policy should be expanded to include articles resulting from research funded by California citizens. 
Assemblyman Nestande proudly serves the communities of Banning, Beaumont, Cabazon, Calimesa, Cherry Valley, Hemet, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, San Jacinto, White Water, 29 Palms, Joshua Tree, Landers, Morongo Valley, Pioneer Town, Yucaipa, and Yucca Valley.