Federal government supports Open Access

| March 2, 2013

There have been several recent developments in federal support for Open Access (OA) over the last few weeks. In case you OA fans out there missed them, here is a brief summary:

The Obama administration recently made its dedication to OA a little bit stronger. As reported on the White House blog from the Office of Science and Technology Policy last week, the federal government has now directed federal agencies that spend more than $100M on R&D to make the resulting publications and supporting digital data openly available to the taxpayers who helped fund the research. While the language of the memorandum makes it clear that this is not a sweeping or immediate change (e.g. it allows for a 12-month embargo to be placed on the results), it is certainly a strong step towards open access. Also, allowing for some time to develop strategies for storing and providing access to both publications and digital datasets is a necessary move, considering that the question of how to best store and provide continued access to big data looms especially large for the academic libraries and institutional repositories.

As the folks at Creative Commons point out, this White House directive was released shortly after the introduction of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), a bill to the House of Representatives and Senate that would push federal agencies to make publications available within 6 months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

FASTR and the White House directive together are strong and laudable steps taken by the federal government towards open access. Those who wish to support the initiatives can visit the action page maintained by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.