Obama Administration Considers More Public Access To Publicly Funded Research

from the this-is-a-good-thing,-people dept

It's hard to comprehend who could be against the idea that federally-funded research (i.e., research funded by your tax dollars) shouldn't become available to the very public who paid for it. But many publishers pushed back hard when the National Institute of Health (NIH) began enforcing a rule that required the research it funded to be published openly a year after it was published in a journal. Again, this was really incredible. Journals get all of their content for free. They do not pay the authors. The journals often claim the copyright over those works as well -- despite the lack of payment. The journals also do not pay the peer reviewers either. The biggest expenses of most publications... not even present in such academic journals. And yet they still charge huge fees for the publication itself. It's a great scam, and they don't want it to end. But even the NIH rules still give them a year's monopoly. Yet, they hated it so much that they even got Rep. John Conyers to try to pass a law ending the requirement -- which thankfully went nowhere after lots of people protested.

The good news is that it looks like the Obama administration is looking to go in the other direction. The EFF points us to the news that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is looking at ways to have this requirement go beyond just NIH and require public access for all federally funded research, including from organizations like the National Science Foundation (NSF). OSTP is asking for comments and input on the idea -- and it's an idea that makes a ton of sense. It seems likely that journal publishers will protest, but hopefully common sense will prevail and federally funded research will become open, accessible and available to everyone.

Filed Under: federal funding, open access, public access, publicly funded research

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Adam (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 11:34am

    As a retired Engineering Prof and ex-Dean of Engineering I most vigorously applaud any effort to break the Journals' high-priced and rigid copyright on published papers. Engineering and Science Libraries have been struggling to subscribe to those journals for years and most now keep those journals in electronic form.

    Oh, I understand the Journals' reasoning; all of them are struggling to stay afloat financially (my personal experience is with ASME and IEEE journals), but like so many things in this Internet Age it is simply an old business model struggling to stay afloat. The most obvious solution in my view is that either research funding agencies or the government more directly ought to subsidize the maintenance of digital publication of reviewed papers as part of their general support for research.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.