White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Issues New Guidance to Ensure “Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research”
UPDATE: August 26 (Media Coverage): US Government Reveals Big Changes to Open-Access Policy (via Nature)
UPDATE August 26 (Media Coverage): White House Pushes Journals to Drop Paywalls on Publicly Funded Research (via NY Times)
Update August 25 (Statement): Sen. Wyden Praises White House Moves to Open Scientific Research, Boost Innovation
Update August 25 (Statement): AAAS Statement on OSTP Federally Funded Research Guidance
UPDATE August 25 (Statement): Expediting Access to Results of Federally Funded Research (via National Library of Medicine)
Note: Along with the material shared below, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has also released the document, Economic Landscape of Federal Public Access Policy; 21 pages; PDF)
President Biden has said that America can be defined in one word: Possibilities. There are few areas with greater prospects for realizing these possibilities than the investments that American taxpayers make by supporting groundbreaking federally funded research. In the last year alone, the American public has borne witness to extraordinary scientific achievements —transformative breakthroughs in medicine and vaccines, inspiring insights from the deepest depths of the ocean, and unprecedented glimpses into the farthest reaches of our universe.
This research, which changes our lives and transforms our world, is made possible by American tax dollars. And yet, these advancements are behind a paywall and out of reach for too many Americans. In too many cases, discrimination and structural inequalities – such as funding disadvantages experienced by minority-serving colleges and institutions – prevent some communities from reaping the rewards of the scientific and technological advancements they have helped to fund. Factors including race, age, disability status, geography, economic background, and gender have historically and systemically excluded some Americans from the accessing the full benefits of scientific research.
To tackle this injustice, and building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to advance policy that benefits all of America, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released new policy guidance today to ensure more equitable access to federally funded research. All members of the American public should be able to take part in every part of the scientific enterprise—leading, participating in, accessing, and benefitting from taxpayer-funded scientific research. That is, all communities should be able to take part in America’s scientific possibilities.
Previous public access policy guidance was articulated to federal agencies in the 2013 OSTP Memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research (2013 Memorandum). The 2013 Memorandum provided unprecedented and transformative policy guidance that catalyzed a strong and ever-growing movement across the Nation and world to strengthen public access to research results. Of the over 20 agencies subject to the 2013 Memorandum, all have developed plans and implemented policies according to the provisions. We commend agencies for accomplishing these monumental steps toward a more open and trustworthy government.
Looking forward, there are two important ways in which we will build on the 2013 Memorandum and usher in the next chapter of federal public access:
- Eliminating the optional 12-month publication embargo for federally funded peer-reviewed research articles. This provision has limited immediate equitable access of federally funded research results to only those able to pay for it or have privileged access through libraries or other institutions. Financial means and privileged access must never be the pre-requisite to realizing the benefits of federally funded research that all Americans deserve.
- Strengthening the data sharing plans of the 2013 Memorandum by making data published in peer-reviewed research articles immediately available upon publication and other research data available within a reasonable timeframe. As President Biden has said when he was Vice President, data from federally funded research belong to the American public. Providing the data that support findings in scientific papers improves transparency and the ability of others to replicate, and build on, the primary research findings. Public access to federally funded research data also helps to level the playing field across a highly uneven funding landscape between academic disciplines – providing possibilities to scholars, students, and the public for secondary use of data that would otherwise be unavailable. The new guidance makes clear that responsible sharing of data requires agencies to ensure that privacy and security protections are maintained.
Read the Complete Announcement
See Also: Economic Landscape of Federal Public Access Policy
21 pages; PDF.
See Also: Charter of the Subcommittee on Open Science of the Committee on Science (via National Science And Technology Council)
Direct to New Policy Guidance
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) enthusiastically welcomes today’s announcement by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that the administration has updated the 2013 “Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research” memorandum with new policy guidance, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research.” The new guidance focuses on immediate public access to federally funded research and the embrace of information-integrity measures, including persistent digital identifiers. In a significant expansion over prior policy, this guidance applies to all federal agencies with any research and development expenditures.
This update is a historic moment for scientific communications. The new policy guidance calls for agency plans to remove the 12-month post-publication embargo period for peer-reviewed manuscripts that result from federally funded scientific research. The agency plans will also require the simultaneous sharing of research data associated with the publications; the data should be shared in repositories that comply with the National Science and Technology Council’s Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research. This acceleration of the public’s access to government-funded research is consistent with the research community’s increasing embrace of open-science practices, and with the need to address such global challenges as health, climate, and economic inequality. By signaling the importance of agency policies that work equitably for people from underserved backgrounds and for early-career researchers, as well as ensuring outputs are accessible to people with disabilities, this new policy guidance bolsters the administration’s focus on advancing equity, and on increasing public participation in the federal scientific enterprise.
Read the Complete ARL Statement
UPDATE: From a SPARC Statement:
“This is an enormous leap forward,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, which has worked for more than two decades to accelerate open access to research. “For the first time, everyone will have free and immediate access to the results of all federally funded research to speed solutions for global challenges—from cancer to climate change.”
This action brings the United States to equal footing with governments across the world who have established strong open access policies and principles to promote their national innovation agendas. It is also in line with UNESCO’s recent Recommendation on Open Science.
Joseph noted, “We are deeply grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for their steadfast leadership on this issue. This crucial policy guidance lays the foundation for a more open and equitable system of research communication in the U.S. and globally.”
Direct to Complete SPARC Statement
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.