March 1, 2013
White House Directs Agencies Create A Public Access Plan For Federally Funded Research
What with all the talk leading up to the sequester kicking in today, sometimes it’s hard to notice some of the things the Obama administration are doing. Here’s an example from last Friday. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a directive to executive departments and agencies to develop policies to make federally funded research available to the general public after one year of publication. The entire document is here. An excerpt:
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hereby directs each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government. This includes any results published in peer-reviewed scholarly publications that are based on research that directly arises from Federal funds, as defined in relevant OMB circulars (e.g., A-21 and A-11). It is preferred that agencies work together, where appropriate, to develop these plans.
The administration put out a Request for Information on the issue and solicited comments on November 3, 2011. Many university libraries and publishers weighed in. Libraries supported the idea of public availability for federally funded studies. Publishers not so much, although they seemed to embrace the idea that the government should reimburse them for editorial and other fees they expend in bringing these articles to market if the works are publicly available. The comments (available with the RFI) reflect the commercial bias of most publishers who describe the current high priced subscription system as working well. I tend to think that if federal funding was involved in a study, then it should be publicly available. We should wait for the details to emerge as the agencies have yet to formulate their plans under the directive. [MG]
To the extent feasible and consistent with applicable law and policy; agency mission; resource constraints; U.S. national, homeland, and economic security; and the objectives listed below, digitally formatted scientific data resulting from unclassified research supported wholly or in part by Federal funding should be stored and publicly accessible to search, retrieve, and analyze. For purposes of this memorandum, data is defined, consistent with OMB circular A-110, as the digital recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings including data sets used to support scholarly publications, but does not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer review reports, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens.