President Obama has issued what has been described as a landmark Directive in the USA to ensure that the results of taxpayer-funded research – both articles and data – are made available to the general public to freely access and fully use.
The action follows a 10-year campaign aimed at making taxpayer-funded scientific research freely accessible and fully reusable in a digital environment.
'This is a watershed moment. The Administration’s action marks a major step forward towards open access to scientific research,' said Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC, which works to broaden public access to scholarly research. 'The Directive will accelerate scientific discovery, improve education, and empower entrepreneurs to translate research into commercial ventures and jobs. It’s good for our nation, our economy, and our future.
'Knowledge is power. It’s the power to innovate, to advance scientific discovery, to promote economic growth, and to create jobs. In 2013, we should be taking full advantage of the digital environment to disseminate the results of publicly funded research, not keep this knowledge locked away.'
The White House Directive affirms the principle that the public has a right to access the results of taxpayer-funded research and calls on all federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide free and timely online access to the results of that research. Articles reporting on the results of publicly funded scientific research must be made available after a 12 month embargo period.
The Directive comes as the bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), is making is way through the US House of Representatives and Senate.
'The Directive is a major achievement for both open access and open government. We should now take the next step and make open access the law of the land. We commend Senators Cornyn and Wyden and Representatives Doyle, Lofgren, and Yoder for introducing FASTR and call on Congress to pass it without delay,' said Joseph.