Monday, February 22, 2016 News

SPARC Statement on the Third Anniversary of the White House Directive Opening Access to Taxpayer-Funded Scientific Research

Open Access   ·   Open Data

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202.538.1065,

Washington, DC (February 22, 2016) – SPARC, a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education, issued the following statement today marking the third anniversary of the White House Directive expanding public access to the results of federally funded research.

The Directive, issued on February 22, 2013 by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), affirmed the principle that the public has a right to the results of taxpayer-funded research and called on all federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide free and timely online access to articles and data that result from that research.

“The Directive was a major achievement for open access and open government, and a watershed moment for the open access movement,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “Three years after the Directive the rules of the game have changed to the benefit of scientists, patients, industry and society at large. Increasingly, the default for federally-funded scientific research and data is moving towards open.”

“At the same time, the anniversary provides an important opportunity to go even further. The twelve-month embargo period on articles noted the Directive should be shortened – or, ideally, eliminated entirely. This is especially true for biomedical information, which is critical for finding treatments and preventions to health emergencies, as the current Zika virus crises illustrates.”

“We also need to ensure that these advances are made permanent. We need to invest in infrastructure to support the long-term, sustainable availability of these research outputs, ensuring that the benefits that they deliver are enjoyed by not only this, but future generations.”

“Finally, Congress should pass the FASTR Act, ensuring a stable path for greater innovation and economic and job growth by opening up access to publicly funded research regardless of the preference of any given Administration.”

“Making open the default for research outputs is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the digital age for what it was originally built to do – accelerate research. Research leads to breakthroughs, and sharing the results of research is what allows us to turn breakthroughs into better lives – to provide new treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, to implement solutions for challenges like global warming, and to build entire industries around what were once just ideas.”

“Even the best ideas remain just that – ideas – until they are shared and can be utilized by others. The more people that can access and build upon the latest research, the more valuable that research becomes and the more likely we are to benefit as a society.”


SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries though the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Learn more at

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