Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



State Government & Tribal Relations Committee

ESSB 5504

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning state agency employee and postsecondary student access to peer-reviewed journals.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Warnick, Sheldon, Hasegawa, Hunt, Zeiger, Takko, Wagoner, Hawkins, Honeyford, Carlyle, Keiser and Wilson, L.).

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Directs the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to study the extent to which state employees or post-secondary students in other states have access to peer-reviewed journals.

Hearing Date: 2/25/20

Staff: Jason Zolle (786-7124).


In a number of scientific fields, academics and professionals rely on articles published in peer-reviewed journals for their research. Before publication in a peer-reviewed journal, articles must be reviewed by experts in the field. Reviewers may suggest revisions to an article before it is published, and an article will be rejected from publication if it is lacking in scholarly validity and rigor.

Access to peer-reviewed journals often requires purchasing a subscription or paying an access fee, although specific articles may sometimes be purchased individually. College and university libraries generally subscribe to relevant journals for their students or others with library accounts. Several other states provide access to online journals for state agency employees or, through state or public libraries, all state residents.

The Legislature created the Washington State Institute of Public Policy (WSIPP) in 1983 to conduct non-partisan research at the direction of the Legislature or its Board of Directors (Board). The Board is comprised of 16 members that represent the Legislature, the Executive Branch, and the academic community. The Board reviews and provides oversight for the WSIPP's projects. The WSIPP is housed in Olympia and receives fiscal and administrative services from The Evergreen State College.

Summary of Bill:

The WSIPP is directed to study the extent to which state employees or post-secondary students in other states have access to peer-reviewed journals.  The study must also consider funding, organizational structures, and policy mechanisms used in other states with such access.  The study must be completed by December 1, 2021, and submitted to the legislative committees with jurisdiction over environmental or natural resource issues.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.