The Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced on Aug. 4 how it will provide free public access to the results of DOE-funded research within 12 months of its publication. The action marks the latest move by the U.S. government to provide public access to federally funded science.
A website called the Public Access Gateway for Energy & Science (PAGES) www.osti.gov/pages will become a searchable portal that provides links to published articles or journal-accepted, peer-reviewed manuscripts, DOE said. In the future, this portal will link to other publications, such as white papers or meeting summaries, from DOE national labs and institutions that receive DOE grants.
PAGES is starting with a small collection of articles. Eventually, DOE expects to add 20,000 to 30,000 articles per year to it.
DOE’s website is the first agency response to a White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) memo issued in February 2013. It requires all federal agencies funding more than $100 million of research per year to make the results of that work freely available.
Before the memo was issued, the National Institutes of Health was the only federal agency with a public-access strategy. Plans from 19 other agencies were due to OSTP almost a year ago. The science community and Congress have been waiting for them ever since.
DOE’s plan is “terrific” because it balances competing interests of the publishing community with that of open access proponents, says John C. Vaughn, executive vice president at the Association of American Universities. The department is allowing papers to stay behind a paywall for 12 months, which is a shorter period than many publishers had lobbied for, before they are made freely available to the public. Vaughn expects other federal agencies to strike a similar middle ground.
The department is working with a consortium of more than 100 publishers that operates CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the U.S.), which helps link articles on publishers’ websites to open access databases.
Public access to articles on a publisher’s website ensures that readers are looking at the most up-to-date presentation that would, for example, reflect any corrections or retractions, says Susan King, chair of the consortium. King is senior vice president of the journals publishing group at the American Chemical Society, which also publishes C&EN.
DOE’s decision to work with CHORUS “speaks to the benefits of enabling distributed public access to scholarly literature while keeping the essential context that publishers provide,” King says.