Obama Administration Announces New Open Access Policy

Intellectual Property Watch

By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a new policy memorandum increasing public access to federally funded scientific research, including peer-reviewed publications and digital data.

OSTP Director John Holdren has directed federal agencies with “more than US$ 100 million 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,” according to the memo, available here.

“Scientific research supported by the Federal Government catalyzes innovative breakthroughs that drive our economy,” the memo stated. “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.”

The directive refers to the post-publication period as a “guideline”, suggesting that different embargo periods might apply in different disciplines. Agencies have six months, from the publication of the memorandum, to detail plans to the OSTP.

The final policy was announced, in part, as a response to an online public petition calling for free access to research. The petition secured more than 65,000 signatures.

Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project, said in his blog: “This is big. It’s big in its own right, and even bigger when put together with FASTR, the bipartisan open access bill introduced into both houses of Congress.



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