Very big and exciting news from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for. That’s why, in a policy memorandum released today, OSTP [Office of Science and Technology Policy] Director John Holdren 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. OSTP has been looking into this issue for some time, soliciting broad public input on multiple occasions and convening an interagency working group to develop a policy. The final policy reflects substantial inputs from scientists and scientific organizations, publishers, members of Congress, and other members of the public—over 65 thousand of whom recently signed a We the People petition asking for expanded public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research.
Note: The full text of the memo is embedded at the bottom of this post.
ARL applauds the Obama administration for this critically important action. The memorandum calls upon federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with free and unlimited online access to the results of that research.
“This memorandum reflects how 21st-century science is conducted in order to advance discovery while, at the same time, it makes federal investment in research broadly available. ARL commends the Obama administration for recognizing the importance and value of making the results of federally funded research publicly available,” said Wendy Lougee, President of ARL and University Librarian, McKnight Presidential Professor, University of Minnesota Libraries.
As noted by Elliott Shore, Executive Director of ARL, “this memorandum builds on years of investment by the government, research libraries, and the academy to advance the nation’s innovation agenda. ARL looks forward to working with federal agencies to ensure that their policies work well for research institutions and the public.”
Read the Complete Statement
The plan then encourages across-the-board public-private partnerships and seeks to avoid unnecessary duplication of resources. Recognizing that different disciplines have different needs, it also sets a 12-month embargo timeline solely “as a guideline for making research papers publicly available,” while specifying that “an agency may tailor its plan as necessary…(based on needs) unique to each field.” It also requires a mechanism for stakeholders to petition for changes to embargoes by presenting evidence demonstrating the plan would be inconsistent (with the stated principles and objectives).”
“In stark contrast to angry rhetoric and unreasonable legislation offered by some, the OSTP takes a fair path that would enhance access for the public, acknowledge differences among agencies and scientific disciplines and recognize the critical role publishers play in vetting, producing, establishing and preserving the integrity of scientific works,” said Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP.
Read the Complete Statement
“This is a watershed moment. The Administration’s action marks a major step forward towards open access to scientific research,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, which works to broaden public access to scholarly research. “The Directive will accelerate scientific discovery, improve education, and empower entrepreneurs to translate research into commercial ventures and jobs. It’s good for our nation, our economy, and our future.”
“Knowledge is power. It’s the power to innovate, to advance scientific discovery, to promote economic growth, and to create jobs. In 2013, we should be taking full advantage of the digital environment to disseminate the results of publicly funded research, not keep this knowledge locked away.”
Read the Complete SPARC Statement
These developments are major achievements for both open access and open government –we now need to take the next step and make open access the law of the land, not just the preference of the President. Join us in transforming research communication for the benefit of all. Please call, write or email your congressional representative and express your support for FASTR.