Aug 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

White House to make all federally funded research immediately accessible

Alondra Nelson, the deputy director for science and society, speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, in January 2021.
Alondra Nelson, the deputy director of the White House office of science and society, speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, in January 2021. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Thursday issued a new policy that will require all federally funded research to be immediately — and freely — available to the public upon publication starting no later than 2026.

Why it matters: The memorandum, issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will end journals' abilities to put the results from federally funded research behind paywalls for up to one year and will increase the public's immediate access to such research.

What they're saying: "All members of the American public should be able to take part in every part of the scientific enterprise—leading, participating in, accessing, and benefitting from taxpayer-funded scientific research. That is, all communities should be able to take part in America’s scientific possibilities," the White House said in a statement Thursday.

  • "In the last year alone, the American public has borne witness to extraordinary scientific achievements —transformative breakthroughs in medicine and vaccines, inspiring insights from the deepest depths of the ocean, and unprecedented glimpses into the farthest reaches of our universe," it added.
  • "This research, which changes our lives and transforms our world, is made possible by American tax dollars. And yet, these advancements are behind a paywall and out of reach for too many Americans."

The big picture: The memo, signed off on by Alondra Nelson, the deputy assistant to the president and deputy director for science and society, orders all federal agencies to "develop new, or update existing, public access plans as soon as possible, and submit them to OSTP."

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