White House Supports Open Access

Open Access LogoThe Executive Office of the President has issued a statement in support of open access to federally funded scholarship and data.

The Memorandum, posted Friday, February 22, by John Holdren, Director of the President’s Office of Science and Technology, begins:

“The Administration is committed to ensuring that, to the greatest extent and with the fewest constraints possible and consistent with law [...], the direct results of federally funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community. Such results include peer-reviewed publications and digital data.”

Echoing priciples long endorsed by open access groups like Creative Commons and actively promoted by open access institutional repositories like the Digital Archive @ Georgia State University, the White House emphasized the far-reaching benefits of open access:

“wider availability of peer-reviewed publications and scientific data in digital formats will create innovative economic markets for services related to curation, preservation, analysis, and visualization. Policies that mobilize these publications and data for re-use through preservation and broader public access also maximize the impact and accountability of the Federal research investment. These policies will accelerate scientific breakthroughs and innovation, promote entrepreneurship, and enhance economic growth and job creation.”

Perhaps more important than a shift in policy principles, the memo requires that every Federal Agency with R&D expenditures of over $100 million develop a plan to support increased public access to federally funded research.  These plans, to be submitted to the White House within six months, are to include not only long-term preservation measures, but also mechanisms to ensure interoperability and improved access to and dissemination of federally funded research.  While recognizing the services provided by publishers, the President’s plan also suggests a maximum 12-month embargo period for articles in scholarly publications.

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