According to a White House webpage, John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has
… issued a memorandum today to Federal agencies that directs those with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publicly available free of charge within 12 months after original publication.
This is already true for research funded by the National Institute of Health. For years some of us have been pushing for the National Science Foundation and other agencies to do the same thing. Elsevier and other companies fought against it, even trying to pass a law to stop it…. but a petition to the White House seems to have had an effect!
In response to this petition, Holdren now says:
while this new policy call does not insist that every agency copy the NIH approach exactly, it does ensure that similar policies will appear across government.
If this really happens, this will be very big news. So let’s fight to make sure this initiative doesn’t get watered down or undermined by the bad guys! The quickest easiest thing is to talk to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, either by phone or email, as explained here. A phone call counts more than an email.
One great thing about Holdren’s new memo is that it requires open access to experimental data, not just papers.
And one sad thing is that it only applies to federally funded research in the sciences, not the humanities. It does not apply to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Done well, research in the humanities can be just as important as scientific research… since most of our problems involve humans.