H. R. 1464
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 12, 2009
Mr. Foster introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Education and Labor, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To require Federal agencies to collaborate in the development of freely-available open source educational materials in college-level physics, chemistry, and math, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Learning Opportunities With Creation
of Open Source Textbooks (LOW COST) Act of 2009.
Congress finds the following:
The College Board reported that for the 2007 through 2008 academic years each student spent an estimated $805 to $1,229 on college books and supplies depending on the type of institution of higher education a student attended.
The gross margin on new college textbooks is currently 22.7 percent according to the National Association of College Stores.
In a recent study, the Government Accountability Office found that college textbook prices have risen at twice the rate of annual inflation over the last two decades.
An open source material project that would make high quality educational materials freely available to the general public would drop college textbook costs and increase accessibility to such education materials.
College-level open source course work materials in math, physics, and chemistry represent a high-priority first step in this area.
The scientific and technical workforce at Federal agencies, national laboratories, and federally supported university-based research programs could make a valuable contribution to this effort.
A Federal oversight role in the creation and maintenance of standard, publicly vetted textbooks is desirable to ensure that intellectual property is respected and that public standards for quality, educational effectiveness, and scientific accuracy are maintained.
Open source material requirement for Federal agencies
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the head of each agency that expends more than $10,000,000 in a fiscal year on scientific education and outreach shall use at least 2 percent of such funds for the collaboration on the development and implementation of open source materials as an educational outreach effort in accordance with subsection (b).
The head of each agency described in subsection (a) shall, under the joint guidance of the Director of the National Science Foundation and the Secretary of Energy, collaborate with the heads of any of the agencies described in such subsection or any federally supported laboratory or university-based research program to develop, implement, and establish procedures for checking the veracity, accuracy, and educational effectiveness of open source materials that—
contain, at minimum, a comprehensive set of textbooks or other educational materials covering topics in college-level physics, chemistry, or math;
are posted on the Federal Open Source Material Website;
are updated prior to each academic year with the latest research and information on the topics covered in the textbooks or other educational materials available on the Federal Open Source Material Website; and
are free of copyright violations.
From the amounts appropriated under subsection (d), the Director and the Secretary shall jointly award grants to eligible entities to produce open source materials in accordance with subsection (c).
To receive a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall submit an application to the Director and the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director and Secretary may require.
Uses of grant
An eligible entity that receives a grant under this section shall use such funds—
to develop and implement open source materials that contain educational materials covering topics in college-level physics, chemistry, or math; and
to evaluate the open sources materials produced with the grant funds awarded under this section and to submit a report containing such evaluation to the Director and Secretary.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated $15,000,000 to carry out this section for fiscal year 2010 and such sums as necessary for each succeeding fiscal year.
The Director and the Secretary shall jointly prescribe regulations necessary to implement this Act, including redistribution and attribution standards for open source materials produced under this Act.
In this Act:
Director means the Director of the National Science
eligible entity means an
institution of higher education, nonprofit or for-profit organization, Federal
agency, or any other organization that produces the open source materials
described in section 4(c).
Federal open source material website
Federal Open Source
Material Website means the website where the head of each agency
described in section 3 shall post the open source materials pursuant to such
section, which shall be made available free of charge to, and may be
downloaded, redistributed, changed, revised or otherwise altered by, any member
of the general public.
Institution of higher education
institution of higher
education means an institution of higher education as defined in
section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).
Open source materials
open source materials means materials that are posted on a
website that is available free of charge to, and may be downloaded,
redistributed changed, revised or otherwise altered by, any member of the
Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.