White House moves to make federally funded research open to the public

February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

“A bipartisan bill introduced last week, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, would force the public release of journal articles within six months of publication” (Washington Post).  This act has been noted and discussed repeatedly in the past few days, but the potential move toward transparency and a more egalitarian spread of knowledge is something that we should all get behind.  The precedent for such a move was set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2007 when they imposed a policy to ensure that all  papers arising from NIH-funded research would be free and accessible within a year of publication. It’s exciting to see that other agencies may soon follow suit. Making government-funded research publicly accessible seems–in retrospect–like an obvious policy, but it still hasn’t been passed. Keep an eye on the progress of this act and encourage it along if you can. As the Post article points out, NSF-funded research alone (e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, social sciences)  produces somewhere between 25,000 to 40,000 publications a year–including research by Nobel laureates and winners of the National Medal of Science; wouldn’t you like free access to that? And as an added perk, this policy would aim to make archive searching easier and quicker (a task that shouldn’t be hard, considering the dismal state of some imposed search strategies at the moment).

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