January 19, 2010
Keys to Public Access Identified in ALA-ACRL Comments on Federally Funded Research
Responding to the Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) request for comments regarding public access policies for science and technology funding agencies across the federal government, ALA and ACRL submitted excellent specific recommendations on Jan. 12, 2010.
ALA and ACRL call for all federal agencies to adopt mandatory public access policies with short embargo periods. To provide timely access, authors' peer-reviewed manuscripts would be an acceptable substitute for the final published version under certain conditions. The Comment cautions that "any measures or policies being adopted now must be carefully crafted to allow, and not inadvertently thwart, changes in scholarly practices that are emerging or that have yet to emerge," including for example, peer-to-peer communications while research is in progress.
To improve access, ALA and ACRL call for across-the-board format standardization as being crucial to long-term public access. Instead of PDF files, authorized repositories should provide support for file conversion to a standard mark-up language (e.g., XML) because the PDF format "does not support robust searching, linking, text-mining, or reformatting over the long-term, nor does it provide full accessibility for the blind and reading impaired."
Federal agencies should avoid establishing independent proprietary repositories to keep implementation costs down. Instead, ALA and ACRL recommend that agencies "should look for possible economies of scale by partnering with each other or with academic institutions."
Additional Comments Solicited. ALA and ACRL encourage all members to consider making additional comments to OSTP as individuals or libraries. More information is available on the OSTP Public Access Policy blog. Comments can also be posted on OSTP’s blog. Comments are due by January 21. See the Federal Register notice for details. [JH]