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White House Broadens Access To Publicly Funded Research

Open Access: Office of Science & Technology Policy directs federal agencies to provide free access to the results of taxpayer-funded research

by Britt E. Erickson
February 22, 2013

The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy is directing all federal agencies that fund $100 million or more in scientific research to develop plans to make the results of that research freely available within 12 months of publication. The National Institutes of Health is currently the only federal agency with such a policy; the new directive will apply to agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy Office of Science.

Open access advocates are applauding the move, which comes just days after Congress introduced legislation that also aims to broaden access to taxpayer-funded research.

The White House directive applies to all research results, including peer-reviewed publications and digital data. Federal agencies will have six months to develop a draft of their plans. “Scientific research supported by the federal government catalyzes innovative breakthroughs that drive our economy,” OSTP Director John P. Holdren wrote in a memo today to the heads of federal agencies affected by the new directive. “The results of that research become the grist for new insights and are assets for progress in areas such as health, energy, the environment, agriculture, and national security,” he said.

OSTP is encouraging federal agencies to work together and with the private sector in developing their open access plans. NSF signaled its desire to do so. “Full public access will require changes in policies, procedures, and practices from the many stakeholders who participate in NSF’s broad research portfolio spanning all scientific and engineering disciplines,” NSF Director Subra Suresh said in a statement. “We stand with our federal science colleagues, as well as our nongovernmental partners, to collaborate in accomplishing this transition on behalf of science and our nation’s future.”


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