Text: H.R.4455 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/10/2014)


113th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 4455


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.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 10, 2014

Mr. Foster (for himself, Mr. Rangel, and Ms. Jackson Lee) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 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


A BILL

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.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks (LOW COST) Act of 2014”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) According to the College Board, that the average student at a 4-year university spent an estimated $1,222 per year on college books and supplies.

(2) According to the National Association of College Stores, the gross margin on new college textbooks was 25.6 percent in 2012.

(3) The Government Accountability Office has found that college textbook prices have risen at twice the rate of annual inflation over the last two decades and that new textbook prices increased 82 percent over the last decade.

(4) An open source material project that would make high quality educational materials freely available to the general public would reduce college textbook costs and increase accessibility to such education materials.

(5) College-level open source course work materials in math, physics, and chemistry represent a high-priority first step in this area.

(6) The scientific and technical workforce at Federal agencies, national laboratories, and federally funded research and development centers could make a valuable contribution to this effort.

(7) 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.

SEC. 3. Open source material pilot program.

(a) In general.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall begin development of college freshman-level, high quality, open source materials that—

(1) contain, at minimum, a comprehensive set of textbooks or other educational materials covering topics in physics, chemistry, and calculus;

(2) are posted on the Federal Open Source Material Website; and

(3) are free of copyright violations.

(b) Posting deadline.—Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall have posted the materials described in subsection (a) on the Federal Open Source Material Website.

(c) Screening procedures.—Before publishing materials on the Federal Open Source Material Website, the Director shall, in collaboration with the agencies described in section 5(b), develop, implement, and establish procedures for checking the veracity, accuracy, and educational effectiveness of open source materials.

SEC. 4. Federal Open Source Material Website.

(a) Establishment.—The Director shall establish and maintain a Federal Open Source Material Website.

(b) Availability of materials.—Materials in the Federal Open Source Material Website 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.

SEC. 5. Open source material requirement for Federal agencies.

(a) Requirement.—The head of each agency described in subsection (b) shall, under the guidance of the Director, collaborate with the heads of any other such agency or any federally funded research and development center to develop, implement, and establish procedures for checking the veracity, accuracy, and educational effectiveness of open source materials that are posted on the Federal Open Source Material Website.

(b) Agency funding.—The head of each agency that expends more than $10,000,000 in a fiscal year on scientific education or scientific outreach shall use at least 2 percent of such funds for collaboration described in subsection (a).

SEC. 6. Regulations.

The Director shall prescribe regulations necessary to implement this Act, including redistribution and attribution standards for open source materials produced under this Act.

SEC. 7. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) DIRECTOR.—The term “Director” means the Director of the National Science Foundation.

(2) FEDERAL OPEN SOURCE MATERIAL WEBSITE.—The term “Federal Open Source Material Website” means the website established under section 4(a).

(3) HIGH QUALITY.—The term “high quality” means—

(A) tested for optimal student engagement;

(B) tested for optimal content consumption;

(C) subjected to an editorial peer review process; and

(D) free of copyright violations.

(4) OPEN SOURCE MATERIALS.—The term “open source materials” means materials that are posted on a website that are available free of charge to, and may be downloaded, redistributed changed, revised, or otherwise altered by, any member of the general public.

SEC. 8. GAO report to Congress.

Not later than July 1, 2018, the Comptroller General shall prepare and submit a report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives detailing—

(1) the open source materials created or adapted under this Act;

(2) the adoption of such open source materials; and

(3) the savings generated for students, States, and the Federal Government through the use of open source materials.