February 25, 2013

Obama backs open access to all federal research


The United States will soon follow in the UK’s footsteps and allow open access to federally-funded research.  A welcome development for open-access advocates, John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, announced on Friday that almost all science papers will be available free online within a year of publication,

John Timmer on ArsTechnica reports,

“The new rules would apply to any agency that has a research budget of over $100 million, and it would include measures for preserving any digital data that was associated with the research.”

This data is a significant bonus, and will include digitally formatted scientific data resulting from unclassified research, which will be free to the public “to search, retrieve, and analyze.”. Holdren wrote,

“Scientific research supported by the federal government catalyzes innovative breakthroughs that drive our economy…The results of that research become the grist for new insights and are assets for progress in areas such as health, energy, the environment, agriculture, and national security.”

The announcement came after more than 65,000 people signed a petition on the White House’s We The People website, and was greeted with approval from industry groups. Access to research that tax payers fund seems not only fair, but will surely increase innovation, now that people have easy access to the latest scientific developments.

Ariel Bogle is a publicist at Melville House.