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PLOS Commends White House Directive on Open Access

PLOS applauds the Obama administration for issuing a directive that calls for expanding open access to federally funded research.  We stand firmly alongside any organization or initiative that attempts to eliminate unnecessary barriers to the immediate availability, access and use of research, and we look forward to working with them in the journey towards full Open Access. Here are some key points from the Directive:

  •  The Directive affirms the principle that the public has a right to access the results of publicly funded research, calling on all federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with free online access to the results of that research.
  • It specifically calls for research manuscripts arising from publicly funded research to be made available no later than 12 months after publication in a scientific journal.
  • The Directive also provides guidance to ensure that data resulting from publicly funded research is made widely available in a timely manner.

This directive is yet another sign that Open Access principles are gaining momentum. The Directive comes as the bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) is making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.  The legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

These developments are major achievements for both open access and open government – we now need to take the next step and make open access the law of the land, not just the preference of the President.  Join us in transforming research communication for the benefit of all. Please call, write or email your congressional representative and express your support for FASTR.

  1. Three Cheers and Eight Suggestions

    The new US OATP OA policy is a wonderful step forward for the entire planet.

    Here are some implementational that will maximize its effectiveness.

    (1) Specify that the deposit of each article must be in an institutional repository (so the universities and research institutions can monitor and ensure compliance as well as adopt mandates of their own).

    (2) Specify that the deposit must be done immediately upon publication.

    (3) Urge (but do not require) authors to make the immediate-deposit immediately-OA.

    (4) Urge (but do not require) authors to reserve the right to make their papers immediately-OA (and other re-use rights) in their contracts with their publishers (as in the Harvard-style mandates).

    (5) Shorten, or, better, do not mention allowable OA embargoes at all (so as not to encourage publishers to adopt them).

    (6) Implement the repositories’ automated “email eprint request” Button (for embargoed [non-OA] deposits).

    (7) Designate repository deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting publications for performance review, research assessment, grant application, or grant renewal.

    (8) Implement rich usage and citation metrics in the institutional repositories as incentive for compliance.

    If this is all done universally, universal OA will soon be upon us — and a global transition to affordable, sustainable Fair-Gold OA (instead of today’s premature, double-paid Fool’s-Gold), plus as much CC-BY as users need and authors wish to provide — will not be far behind.

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