FRPAA – Open Access – Support by 52 Nobel Laureates

May 8, 2012

On March 29th, the Committee on Science, Space and Technology
of the U.S. House of Representatives, held a hearing on

Federally Funded Research:
Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests

To contribute to this discussions, a group of 52 Nobel Laureates
addressed a letter to the committee
, emphasizing the importance of
Open Access on Federally Funded Research.

Here are some notable excerpts of this letter:

“As scientists and Nobel Laureates, we write to express our strong support for H.R. 4004 and S. 2096, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). This broadly supported bi-partisan legislation would enhance access to federally funded, published research articles for scientists, physicians, health care workers, libraries, students, researchers, academic institutions, companies, and patients and consumers.”

“We believe Congress can and must act to ensure that all potential users have free and timely access on the Internet to peer-reviewed federal research findings.”


“The open availability of federally funded research for broad public use in open online archives is a crucial building block in laying a strong national foundation to support accelerated discovery and innovation.”


“FRPAA builds on established public access policies that have been adopted by government agencies in both the U.S. and abroad. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have implemented a successful comprehensive public access policy, mandated through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008. All seven of the Research Councils in the United Kingdom have public access policies as does the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. This bill is also consistent with the growing number of institutional open-access policies that have been adopted at universities such as Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Kansas.”


“As the undersigned Nobel Laureates, representing both U.S. interests and those of the rest of the scientific world, we ask you to co-sponsor and support the Federal Research Public Access Act.”

U.S. Laureates:
Name, Category Prize Year

  • Alexi Abrikosov, Physics 2003
  • Peter Agre, Chemistry 2003
  • Paul Berg, Chemistry 1980
  • J. Michael Bishop, Medicine 1989
  • Linda Buck, Medicine 2004
  • Martin Chalfie, Chemistry 2008
  • Elias Corey, Chemistry 1990
  • Robert F. Curl Jr., Chemistry 1996
  • Johann Deisenhofer, Chemistry 1988
  • Andrew Z. Fire, Medicine 2006
  • Edmond H. Fischer, Medicine 1992
  • Riccardo Giaccardo, Physics 2002
  • Sheldon Glashow, Physics 1979
  • Roy Glauber, Physics 2005
  • Paul Greengard, Medicine 2000
  • Roger Guillemin, Medicine 1977
  • David Gross, Physics 2004
  • John L. Hall, Physics 2005
  • Leland H. Hartwell, Medicine 2001
  • Dudley Herschbach, Chemistry 1986
  • Roald Hoffmann, Chemistry 1981
  • Louis Ignarro, Medicine 1998
  • Wolfgang Ketterle, Physics 2001
  • Roger D. Kornberg, Chemistry 2006
  • Mario Molina, Chemistry 1995
  • Kary B. Mullis, Chemistry 1993
  • Arno Penzias, Physics 1978
  • H. David Politzer, Physics 2004
  • Stanley Prusiner, Medicine 1997
  • Robert C. Richardson, Physics 1996
  • Richard J. Roberts, Medicine 2012
  • Daniel Shechtman, Chemistry 2011
  • George Smith, Physics 2009
  • Hamilton Smith, Medicine 1978
  • George Smoot, Physics 2006
  • Jack W. Szostak, Medicine 2009
  • Joe Taylor, Physics 1993
  • James Watson, Medicine 1962

Non-U.S Laureates

  • Aaron Ciechanover, Chemistry 2004
  • Richard Ernst, Chemistry 1991
  • Avram Hershko, Chemistry 2004
  • Tim Hunt, Medicine 2001
  • Klaus von Klitzing, Physics 1985
  • Yuan T. Lee, Chemistry 1986
  • Jean-Marie Lehn, Chemistry 1987
  • Sir Peter Mansfield, Medicine 2003
  • Hartmut Michel, Chemistry 1988
  • Erwin Neher, Medicine 1991
  • John Polanyi, Chemistry 1986
  • Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Chemistry 2009
  • Brian Schmidt, Physics 2011
  • Akira Suzuki, Chemistry 2010
  • Sir John Walker, Chemistry 1997


The support demonstrated by these Nobel Laureates makes clear the value of Open Access to Scientific Research endeavor. It is now a matter of helping traditional publishers and scientific societies understand the business model of Open Access, so that they can still remain in business without having to continue obstructing the progress of science and technology with the practice of placing scientific articles behind paywalls where they don’t reach the public.


Leave a Reply