White House petitioned to make research free to access : Nature News & Comment

abernard102@gmail.com 2012-05-27


"“More than 17,000 people have signed an online petition urging US President Barack Obama to require all scientific journal articles resulting from US taxpayer-funded research to be made freely available online. The signatures, obtained within a week of the petition's launch after an active social media campaign, put it over two-thirds of the way towards the threshold that will require an official response from the White House. It comes as the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) — one of the largest biomedical institutions in the United States — becomes the latest institution to require its researchers to make their articles freely available in an open-access repository. However, they can opt out if it brings them into conflict with publishers. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and various Harvard University schools are amongst those with similar policies in place. The petition, on the White House website, was launched by Access2Research, a group of four open-access advocates who were frustrated by the lack of progress on the issue and so are trying a new tack. The petition urges the president to ‘act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research’. ‘We know the NIH policy works to provide public access and there have been no data presented that it hurts publishers’ revenues, so we are asking for that policy to be extended,’ says John Wilbanks, a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, and one of the four people spearheading the petition. The proposed extension would see open-access polices cover all 12 federal-science agencies, including the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture. The petition does not stipulate a time period within which articles should be deposited or a particular repository, to give agencies flexibility, Wilbanks says. The agencies together receive about US$60 billion in federal research dollars each year, with about half going to the NIH, so the number of papers available annually could double under the proposal, says Heather Joseph, another petition leader and executive director of the pro-open access Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, based in Washington DC. Assuming the petition tops 25,000 signatures before 19 June, there must be an official response from the administration. ‘[It] at least puts the issue in front of the president's staff for consideration. The response could be as weak as a simple acknowledgement, or as strong as a policy statement or directive’, such as an executive order telling agencies to expand the NIH policy, Joseph adds. The timing of the petition is no accident. A bipartisan bill — the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) 2012 — that advocates extending the NIH policy to other federal agencies, and shortening the time frame in which papers must be deposited from 12 months to 6, is making its way through Congress. The White House is also currently reviewing its open-access policies. ‘We want the White House to state its position because it could get the ball rolling with agencies, and we want FRPAA because it is much harder to overturn,’ says Joseph. But the petition has received a cool response from both traditional publishers and some open-access campaigners. ‘I love this is happening, but it is a compromise,’ says Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Berkeley and a co-founder of open-access publisher the Public Library of Science. Eisen adds that implementation of public access policies like the NIH's at other federal agencies would mean delayed rather than immediate access along with a curtailed ability for data mining.  Publishers have been ‘working hard to advance the public-access issue’, says Andi Sporkin, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Publishers, headquartered in Washington DC. ‘But] we oppose government mandates on research publications and believe... it is unworkable to make the NIH policy serve as a one-size-fits-all rule.’ Meanwhile, UCSF will become the first University of California campus in the system to mandate deposition, although the goal is to pass a similar policy for all 10 of its campuses...”" Posted by abernard to oa.access2research oa.usda oa.signatures oa.deposits oa.petitions oa.doe oa.nsf oa.nasa oa.aap oa.sparc oa.frpaa oa.npg oa.embargoes oa.government oa.business_models oa.societies oa.advocacy oa.policies oa.epa oa.repositories oa.publishers oa.mandates oa.harvard.u oa.u.california oa.green oa.mit oa.new oa.nih oa.legislation oa.comment oa.usa on Sun May 27 2012



From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » abernard102@gmail.com


oa.new oa.npg oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.government oa.mandates oa.frpaa oa.legislation oa.nih oa.green oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.societies oa.deposits oa.sparc oa.aap oa.nasa oa.mit oa.embargoes oa.harvard.u oa.doe oa.nsf oa.u.california oa.epa oa.usda oa.access2research oa.usa oa.policies oa.repositories

Date tagged:

05/27/2012, 10:15

Date published:

05/27/2012, 06:15