On August 25, 2022, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research that will make taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. This new guidance calls on all federal agencies to generate policies that eliminate the current 12-month waiting period for access to the outputs of federally funded research, including articles and data.
Specifically, the new policy guidance:
- Makes taxpayer-funded research publications available immediately, at no cost to the public. The new policy guidance eliminates the current 12-month waiting period, and ensures that research publications be made freely available and publicly accessible by default in agency-designated repositories without any embargo or delay after publication, so that anyone can immediately access and use the research results.
- Makes taxpayer-funded research more useful and valuable. The policy guidance ensures that research publications are made available in machine-readable formats to enable their full use and reuse. This will enable researchers and the public to unlock the full value of taxpayer-funded research through text and data mining, computational analysis, and other state of the art technologies.
- Improves scientific research integrity. The guidance calls for the underlying data needed to validate the conclusions of articles to be made immediately available, and also asks agencies to develop approaches and timelines for sharing other federally funded scientific data not associated with research publications. This will improve the quality and reproducibility of research.
- Increases public trust in taxpayer-funded research. The memorandum notes that the public should be able to identify which agencies support any given investment in science, the scientists who are conducting that research, and the extent to which peer-review has been conducted on it. It calls on agencies to update their policies to make appropriate metadata (including author names, affiliations, and funding sources) available at the time of publication. Additionally, it calls for the use of persistent identifiers for all research outputs.
- Promotes equity in the research enterprise. The guidance asks agencies to take measures to reduce inequities in both the publishing of and access to federally funded research publications and data, especially among individuals from underserved backgrounds and those who are early in their careers.
- Extends the scope and reach of current policy. The new guidance covers all federal agencies and departments, a significant expansion beyond the 20 agencies covered under current policy. It substantially broadens the definition of publications and includes, not only research articles and accepted manuscripts, but also peer-reviewed book chapters, editorials, and conference proceedings.
- Provides ample time for policy updates to be implemented. The new policy guidance provides a long lead time for agencies to develop and implement new policies. Agency plans must be complete and published by Dec. 31, 2024, and go into effect no later than one year after publication.
- Builds on 15 years of steady progress made 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.
- Aligns with UNESCO’s recent Recommendation on Open Science and brings the United States to equal footing with governments across the world who have established strong open access policies to promote their national innovation agendas.
For more information, please see the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) announcement, here.
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.