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White House issues directive supporting public access to publicly funded research

Timothy Vollmer, February 22nd, 2013

Today, the White House issued a Directive supporting public access to publicly-funded research.

John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, “has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.”

Each agency covered by the Directive (54 KB PDF) must “Ensure that the public can read, download, and analyze in digital form final peer reviewed manuscripts or final published documents within a timeframe that is appropriate for each type of research conducted or sponsored by the agency.”

The Directive comes out after a multi-year campaign organized by Open Access advocates, and reflects a groundswell of grassroots support for public access to the scientific research that the public pays for. Of course, the White House Directive is issued on the heels of the introduction of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR). Both the Directive and the FASTR legislation are complementary approaches to ensuring that the public can access and use the scientific research it pays for.

We applaud this important policy Directive. While the Directive and FASTR do not specifically require the application of open licenses to the scientific research outputs funded with federal tax dollars, both actions represent crucial steps toward increasing public access to research.

3 Responses to “White House issues directive supporting public access to publicly funded research”

  1. lucychili says:

    access to knowledge is important at a time when the earth needs our best understandings to help us repair destructive ecological and social damage caused by financial and economic brokenness.

  2. Scott Preece says:

    Thanks for moving the country in the direction of open access to the research we all pay for.

  3. THREE CHEERS AND EIGHT SUGGESTIONS

    The new US OATP Presidential Directive requiring the largest US funding agencies to mandate OA within 12 months of publication is a wonderful step forward for the entire planet.

    Here are some crucial implementational details that will maximize the mandates’ effectiveness.

    (1) Specify that the deposit of each article must be in an institutional repository (so the universities and research institutions can monitor and ensure compliance as well as adopt mandates of their own).

    (2) Specify that the deposit must be done immediately upon publication.

    (3) Urge (but do not require) authors to make the immediate-deposit immediately-OA.

    (4) Urge (but do not require) authors to reserve the right to make their papers immediately-OA (and other re-use rights) in their contracts with their publishers (as in the Harvard-style mandates).

    (5) Shorten, or, better, do not mention allowable OA embargoes at all (so as not to encourage publishers to adopt them).

    (6) Implement the repositories’ automated “email eprint request” Button (for embargoed [non-OA] deposits).

    (7) Designate repository deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting publications for performance review, research assessment, grant application, or grant renewal.

    (8) Implement rich usage and citation metrics in the institutional repositories as incentive for compliance.

    If this is all done universally, universal OA will soon be upon us — and a global transition to affordable, sustainable Fair-Gold OA (instead of today’s premature, double-paid Fool’s-Gold), plus as much CC-BY as users need and authors wish to provide — will not be far behind.