Required Public Access (Open Access and Open Data)
Many U.S. federal funding agencies, and some private funders, require that results (publications or data, or both) of research performed under their grants be made available to the public.
U.S. Federal Agencies with Research and Development Expenditures Over $100 Million
In a 2013 memo, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directed federal agencies with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to "develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research." OSTP Public Access Policy Forum. The directive not only addressed public availability of published results, but also scientific data: "digitally formatted scientific data resulting from unclassified research supported wholly or in part by Federal funding should be stored and publicly accessible to search, retrieve, and analyze." OSTP Progress Update (November 13, 2014).
Some agencies, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), had already adopted public access policies. Others, like the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), adopted policies to conform to the OSTP directive. And, still others are in the process of developing policies.
In March 2015, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015 (FASTR), first introduced in 2013, was re-introduced. It will strengthen the OSTP directive by requring "each Federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100,000,000 ... [to] develop a Federal research public access policy." Senate Bill 779(2015). This proposed legislation follows the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (FRPAA), tirst introduced in 2006 and re-introduced in 2009, that would have required that "each Federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100,000,000 ... [to] develop a Federal research public access policy." Senate Bill 1373 (2009).
Private U.S.-based funders, like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, have also implemented public access requirements. Internationally, in Canada, funders, like the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, have implemented public access policies. In the United Kingdom, major funders, like the Research Councils UK and Wellcome Trust, have implemented public access policies. And, across Europe, funders, like the European Research Council, Inserm (France), and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Germany), have implemented public access policies.
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