Access to Federally Funded Research


Access to Federally Funded Research

On August 25, 2022, a memorandum was released by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy updating federal policy requiring data and publications resulting from federally funded research to be shared.  The OSTP memo directs all federal agencies to develop policies to ensure that taxpayer-funded research outputs, including publications and datasets, will be made immediately available for the public to freely access.  New policies regarding public access for publications and data must be in effect by the end of 2025, although agencies may implement policies sooner.  Some of the most significant changes include:

  • The memo expands the scope of federal policy on public access to grant-funded research.  Previous guidance from 2013 applied only to agencies dispensing more than $100 million in grants annually, such as the NIH and the NSF.  Colleagues in the humanities may be interested to note that the new guidance will apply to all federal agencies, including the NEH.
  • This memo eliminates the option for authors to choose to delay public access to articles or datasets after publication.
  • Current policies based on the 2013 directive allow for publications and datasets to be subject to an embargo period of up to 12 months post-publication before becoming freely available.  The new memo specifically directs that research outputs must be made immediately available, with no option for embargo. 
  • Agencies are directed to draft policies which apply to publications and datasets for which any contributing author has received funding, not just the primary author.  

Open access advocates such as SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, have described this memo as “a historic win for open access.”  Other scholarly communication analysts have raised some questions about the implementation of this ambitious directive.  It remains to be seen what policies will be developed by federal agencies in response to this directive, but any researchers who apply for or receive federal funding will want to keep an eye on this development.  Please feel free to reach out to Eli Gandour-Rood, Collins Library science liaison, with any questions.

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