US: “Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research” – new White House Directive mandates OA

Posted: February 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing, Research Data | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

thumbs_upJohn Paul Holdren, a chief advisor of US-President Obama on science and technology issues, has issued a memorandum  that directs those agencies with more than $100 million in research and development expeditures…

“…to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months after original publication.”

According to Holdren the directive is well-balanced:

“We wanted to strike the balance between the extraordinary public benefit of increasing public access to the results of federally-funded scientific research and the need to ensure that the valuable contributions that the scientific publishing industry provides are not lost.”

In contrast to other directives or proposals this directive also implies open access to data (section 4). Holdren sees many advantages in opening up access to those datasets:

“Access to pre-existing data sets can accelerate growth by allowing companies to focus resources and efforts on understanding and fully exploiting discoveries instead of repeating basic, pre-competitive work already documented elsewhere.”

The directive covers all the agencies spending at least $100 million per year funding extramural research or development and puts a limit on permissible embargoes. After 12 month at the latest, normally publications and data have to be available free of charge.With this new directive accessing research data is massively facilitated. Each agency’s public access plan shall (amongst others):

“Maximize access, by the general public and without charge, to digitally formatted scientific data created with Federal funds […]”

The agencies shall submit own draft plans within certain guidelines and the directive gives them half a year to do so.

This is a huge step forward. Peter Suber comments on G+:

“This is big. It’s big in its own right, and even bigger when put together with FASTR , the bipartisan OA bill introduced into both houses of Congress just eight days ago. We now have OA mandates coming from both the executive and legislative branches of government.”

In my opinion this is a very interesting directive and the European Commission, that is currently also discussing on mandating open access (also to research data), would be well advised to have a look at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Also in Germany and the European Union there are lots of discussions concerning Open Access and Open Data. A good summary regarding the most recent proposals and developments is available on (in German).

Photo:  “EU energy efficiency directive approved: billions to be made in savings” by European Parliament / License: CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

One Comment on “US: “Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research” – new White House Directive mandates OA”

  1. 1 Lollpop said at 07:10 on March 9th, 2013:

    Great article is there any chance I can take it and copy it onto my own blog