For Immediate Release
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202-538-1065, [email protected]
Taxpayers to Get Immediate Access to Publicly Funded Research
White House issues new guidance that will speed progress toward curing diseases, preventing pandemics, mitigating climate change, and more
Washington, DC (August 25, 2022) – As a result of action taken today by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), taxpayer-funded research will be immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. The new guidance issued to all federal agencies will eliminate the current 12-month waiting period for access to research outputs, including articles and data.
“This is an enormous leap forward,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, which has worked for more than two decades to accelerate open access to research. “For the first time, everyone will have free and immediate access to the results of all federally funded research to speed solutions for global challenges—from cancer to climate change.”
Currently, U.S. taxpayers spend over $80 billion on research each year. The government funds this research in order to advance discovery, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and improve the lives of citizens. Yet too often the articles that report on the results of this research are locked behind expensive paywalls. The world learned how critical open access to research was during COVID-19. In 2020, paywalls were lifted for coronavirus articles, enabling scientists and doctors to access the latest research without delay and leading to the fastest development of a vaccine in history.
Now, the public will be guaranteed the same fast access to information on countless other areas critical to their lives. Today’s action will unlock both the articles reporting on the results of federally funded research and the data needed to validate their results. It will enable scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, and communities to more quickly turn research into real-world applications that can benefit everyone.
The policy guidance issued in today’s memorandum on “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” applies to all federal agencies—substantially expanding the scope of current federal policy. It also broadens the research outputs covered by the policy to include peer reviewed book chapters, editorials, and conference proceedings.
Today’s action builds on 15 years of steady progress by both Democratic and Republican administrations and significantly strengthens current U.S. policy—including the landmark 2008 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy and the 2013 White House OSTP Memorandum on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research Results.
The policy guidance accomplishes the following:
- Makes taxpayer-funded articles and data available immediately, at no cost to the public
- Makes taxpayer-funded research more useful and valuable
- Increases transparency in taxpayer-funded research
- Improves scientific research integrity
- Promotes equity in the publishing of and access to federally funded research
- Extends the scope and reach of current policy
- Provides ample time for policy updates to be implemented
This action brings the United States to equal footing with governments across the world who have established strong open access policies and principles to promote their national innovation agendas. It is also in line with UNESCO’s recent Recommendation on Open Science.
Joseph noted, “We are deeply grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for their steadfast leadership on this issue. This crucial policy guidance lays the foundation for a more open and equitable system of research communication in the U.S. and globally.”
SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design. As a catalyst for action, we drive policy change, support member action, and cultivate communities that advance our vision of knowledge as a public good. SPARC’s membership includes more than 200 libraries and academic organizations across North America. Learn more at sparcopen.org.