Publicly Funded Research Category

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Appropriations Bill Expands Open Access to Federally Funded Research

President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 last Friday (1/17/2014) to fund the activities of the federal government for the 2014 fiscal year. The $1.1 trillion dollar budget includes the requirement that federal agencies providing $100 million or more in annual research funding to make the resulting peer-reviewed research papers publicly available within 12 months of publication. This provision is an expansion of the Open Access policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cover agencies within the purview of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Here is an excerpt of the bill that details this provision:

Sec. 527. Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;

(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication; and

(3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

Like the NIH Public Access Policy, this will require recipients of federal research funding to deposit their final research papers to an Open Access repository like PubMed Central or Iowa Research Online. Details of specific public access policies have yet to be released.

[Washington Post | SPARC]

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This week in Open Access: SHARE

Yesterday, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) released a letter sent to John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), requesting copies of U.S. government agency plans to make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public. This follows up on a February 22nd, 2013, White House OSTP memorandum directing federal agencies that annually provide $100 million in funding for research and development to “develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government. This includes any results publishing in peer-reviewed scholarly publications.” The deadline for these proposals was August 22nd, 2013, and there has been no official word on the specifics of these plans yet.

To comply with these policy changes (once they take effect), the SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE) has been proposed by the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grat Universities (APLU), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). This system will leverage current digital repository infrastructure already in place and in use at large state and publically funded Universities to create a network of publically funded, open access research through a common metadata schema. Here at the University of Iowa, our digital repository system is called Iowa Research Online.

Toward the making SHARE a reality, the AAU, APLU, and the ARL announced yesterday the formations a Joint Steering Group comprised of University Administrators, Librarians, and Technologists was formed to see this project through completion. You can read more about SHARE here.

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A ‘Federated System’ for Public Access to Research

Universities and Libraries Envision a ‘Federated System’ for Public Access to Research, Chronicle of Higher Education, by Jennifer Howard

June 7, 2013

Excerpt:

As federal agencies scramble to meet an August 22 deadline to comply with a recent White House directive to expand public access to research, a group of university and library organizations says it has a workable, higher-education-driven solution. This week, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Association of Research Libraries are offering a plan they call the Shared Access Research Ecosystem, or Share.

Share would expand on systems that universities and libraries have long been building to support the sharing and preservation of research. The groups behind Share have been circulating a document, dated June 7, that lays out the basics behind the idea.

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NIH to begin enforcing Open Access Policy

NIH to Begin Enforcing Open-Access Policy on Research It Supports, by Paul Basken

Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 19, 2012

Excerpt:

The NIH, in a statement issued on Friday, said that beginning in about five months, it would block the renewal of grant awards in cases where journal publications arising from the award do not comply with its open-access rule.

The NIH’s online database, PubMed Central, has some 260,000 papers collected under the policy, or about three-fourths of the eligible publicly financed research, an agency official said.

“While compliance to the policy currently stands at 75 percent and continues to edge upward,” said Neil M. Thakur, program manager for the public-access policy in Ms. Rockey’s office, the “NIH believes that four years has been sufficient time for NIH grantees to adjust to the requirement.”

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US News & World Report takes on academic journal publishing

In a long piece online at its web site, Simon Owens of US News and World Report offers an overview of academic (chiefly scientific) journal publishing and the rise of open access. See Is the Academic Publishing Industry on the Verge of Disruption?” Starting with the recent Harvard letter on journal prices (see Transitions for April 23, 2012), the article reports on moves toward open access publishing, and resistance from commercial “closed access” publishers.

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UK announces open access requirement for articles based on gov’t funded research

On July 16th the British government announced that it would require articles published on the basis of publicly funded research to be published in open access form. Portions of the announcement follow. An article in the Guardian describes the plan in more detail and reports some reactions.

“The government has announced that it will make publicly funded scientific research available for anyone to read for free, accepting recommendations in a report on open access by Dame Janet Finch.

This will likely see a major increase in the number of taxpayer-funded research papers freely available to the public.

Science Minister David Willetts said:

“Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer funded research will have real economic and social benefits. It will allow academics and businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and herald a new era of academic discovery.”

Among the recommendations that have been accepted by the Government are:

  • Moving to deliver open access through a ‘gold’ model, where article processing-charges are paid upfront to cover the cost of publication.
  • Walk-in rights for the general public, so they can have free access to global research publications owned by members of the UK Publishers’ Association, via public libraries.
  • Extending the licensing of access enjoyed by universities to high technology businesses for a modest charge.”
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Report calls for accelerating transition to open access publishing in UK

A government commissioned report titled “Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications” calls for Britain “embrace and help accelerate the transition to the open-access publishing of research results.”  We called attention to this expected recommendation in a May 3rd posting. According to reporting in  the Chronicle of Higher Education “[t]he report’s main recommendation is that ‘a clear policy direction should be set towards support for publication in open-access or hybrid journals as the main vehicle for the publication of research, especially when it is publicly funded.’”

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White House petition reaches 25,000 signatures

The White House petition sponsored by Access2Research and calling for open access to all journal articles arising from federally-funded research reached the required 25,000 signature mark on June 3, well ahead of the June 19 deadline.  As of June 11, 26,592 signatures had been received.  White House petitions which reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days receive an official response from the Administration.

The petition calls for the published results of all taxpayer-funded research be posted freely on the internet.  Currently, only articles resulting from research funded by the National Institutes of Health have this requirement.  The NIH Public Access Policy requires that articles be posted to PubMed Central within 12 months of being published.

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White House petition calls for open access to federally funded research results

Under the sponsorship of Access2Research a White House petition has been initiated that calls for open access to journal articles published as a result of federally funded research. The Access2Research web site urges:

“Sign the petition to require free access over the Internet to journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research. This will require you to create an account at the White House petition website, confirm the account by clicking on a link in your email, and then sign the petition itself. 

25,000 signatures in 30 days gets an official Administration response. We want to hit that number – blow it out of the water – to escalate this issue inside the White House. We believe the idea of requiring free access has support but is stuck. This could well be the event that gets it through.”

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British government announces plans to make publicly funded research reports open access

The British government announced on Wednesday that it would take steps to require open access publication of research based on government funding. The govenment spokesman, as reported by Jennifer Howard in the Chronicle of Higher Education, did not specify how the published research would be made available.  Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, will be advising the government on standards and other matters. The article reports a response by a spokesman from Springer Verlag.

“Throwing its weight behind open access, the British government has declared it wants to make all research paid for with public money freely available online. If it succeeds, the move is likely to have significant consequences for publishers, and will boost the international momentum of the open-access movement. But the government won’t share details about how it will make the plan a reality.”

In reaction the Guardian in a May 9 article observes that a primary mode of financing open access publishing, with article fees paid by the author or author’s institution, is discriminatory and favors those with “deep pockets.” The article points out:

“A major problem with the APC model is that it effectively shifts the costs of academic publishing from the reader to the author and therefore discriminates against those without access to the funds needed to meet these costs. Among those excluded are academics in, for example, the humanities and the social sciences whose research funding typically does not include publication charges, and independent researchers whose only means of paying the APC is from their own pockets. Academics in developing countries in particular face discrimination under APC because of their often very limited access to research funds.”