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House Science Committee Questions Administration on Open Access Policies

House Science Committee Questions Administration on Open Access Policies

Last week, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a joint letter on the Administration’s August 25, 2022 Memorandum to federal research agencies on “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research.” The Memorandum directs federal agencies to implement policies that allow for immediate public access to publications resulting from federally funded research, eliminating an up-to 12-month embargo by December 31, 2025. It also creates new requirements for digital access to data that is created using federal research funds.

The Science Committee leaders expressed support for expanding public access to federal research results but presented a series of questions about how the policy directions in the Memorandum will be implemented in a way that supports stakeholders and the scientific enterprise:
“The Memorandum is short on details of how the new requirements will be implemented, including how agencies will update their own policies and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure smooth implementation and address new challenges with who can afford to submit their research for publication, or how to ensure the quality of research publications. We are further concerned about the lack of detail with respect to the requirements for digital data. Making data accessible in a way that is truly useful to advance science has always been a more difficult technical, cultural, and economic challenge than making publications available. It is the responsibility of the Federal government not just to ensure that taxpayer funded research is made publicly available (with appropriate protections for privacy and confidentiality), but that it is done in a way that avoids unintended consequences and maximizes the scientific benefits.”
In addition to requiring a response from OSTP within 10 business days, the Chairwoman and Ranking Member recommended that OSTP conduct additional stakeholder engagement and hold public workshops to address outstanding questions over the coming months.
Read the full House Science Committee letter here

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