Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Public Access – Help Shape It!
by Dr. Walt Warnick on Wed, 16 Nov, 2011
outside sign for public access area

As a reader of this blog, you are naturally a stakeholder in the government's public access policies – specifically, public access to scholarly publications containing federally-funded research results.  As the largest government funder of research in the physical sciences as well as a key funder across a broad spectrum of other science and technology fields, the Department of Energy, through our national laboratories and grantees, produces an enormous number of scholarly publications each year.

Journal articles are the gold standard of scholarly publications.  Books and conference papers are other examples.  DOE research is also recorded in the form of e-prints and technical reports.  OSTI is the repository for DOE's technical reports, having nearly 300,000 available in electronic full text on the DOE Information Bridge and another 800,000, dating back to the Manhattan Project, awaiting digitization.

For journal articles, OSTI also receives lots of metadata from national labs, but public access to the full text depends on individual journal publishers' business practices – e.g., whether the journal is open access or subscription based.  In the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, Congress tasked the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) with reviewing, evaluating, and proposing federal public access policies and practices for peer reviewed scholarly publications.  A Public Access to Scholarly Publications (PASP) Task Force has been leading this effort on behalf of the NSTC, and a Request for Information (RFI) (i.e., an opportunity for stakeholder input) has just been announced by the White House seeking your input to the government's public access policy.

Responses to the RFI will be accepted through January 2, 2012, and can be sent to publicaccess@ostp.gov.  The RFI has 8 thought-provoking questions (many with "sub-questions").  Please consider answering as many as seem pertinent to your perspective.  This is an opportunity to participate and help shape public access policy.  Let your voice be heard!

Related OSTI Products: Information Bridge (IB)
Other Related Topics: public access, RFI

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About the Author

Dr. Walt Warnick's picture
Dr. Walt Warnick
Former Director, U.S. DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information