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Charter guides US public-access approach

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A charter within the America COMPETES Act, recently signed into US law, aims to coordinate Federal agency policies concerning the results of research they fund. It asks for public interests and those of other stakeholders such as publishers to be considered in such policies.

The charter covers digital data and peer-reviewed scholarly publications, and recognises that there are distinctions between these types of resources, as well as between different scientific disciplines and science agencies. It also recognises the role of copyright.

The new charter has been welcomed by industry body STM. 'Taken together these provisions demonstrate a clear call for US Federal agencies to craft archiving and public-access polices with appropriate care for the concerns of all stakeholders and the dangers of "unintended" consequences,' said Michael Mabe, chief executive officer of STM. 'They avoid the pitfalls of unfunded mandates and "one size fits all" policies and call for US officials to clearly identify the specific goals they are trying to achieve and how they have incorporated input from key stakeholders like publishers.'