by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon 12 Sep, 2016 in
In April 2012, The Economist ran a biting editorial arguing that, “[w]hen research is funded by the taxpayer or by charities, the results should be available to all without charge.” Academic journals, the magazine contended, were raking in huge profits by selling content that was supplied to them largely for free and in the process restricting public access to valuable research to just those willing to pay for subscriptions. The answer to this “absurd and unjust” situation, The Economist wrote, is “simple”: governments and foundations that fund research “should require that the results be made available free to the public.”
We at the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) have found that providing full public access to the research DOE funds is simple in principle and complex in practice. And reflecting on this 2012 editorial, we can say that a great deal of progress has been made toward reaching the goal of free public access it sets out. And much of that progress is due to hard collaborative work by both the government and publishers.
Following the February 2013 memo from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research,” all major U.S. federal science agencies are now implementing public access plans, which comprehend both publications and data.
DOE was the first federal agency to gain OSTP approval of its plan – in July 2014. DOE’s early implementation is a result of the longstanding scientific and technical information (STI) program and...
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