“We have fought to see Open Access policy enacted for well over a decade, and it’s important to let the White House know that there is deep support for this policy from our community. We hope you will sign this letter to the President along with other patient advocacy groups expressing our strong support for such a policy.
The U.S. government funds more than $60 billion in scientific research each year on behalf of the public. Making sure that the results of this research are readily accessible to all people will speed the pace of scientific discovery, spur innovation, provide fuel for the creation of new jobs across a broad spectrum of the economy – and, importantly, will give patients and their families hope of finding cures to rare and currently untreatable diseases.
We’ve made slow but steady progress towards our goal getting this information into the hands of the public as quickly as possible, starting with a policy requiring all NIH-funded research articles to be made available within one year of publication, and successfully expanding that policy (via legislation and White House memorandums) to cover all federally funded scientific research.
We now have the opportunity to once and for eliminate the current 12 month embargo period and allow the public to have immediate access to not only articles reporting on taxpayer funded research, but also the underlying data supporting those articles.
An immediate open access policy would also bring the U.S. in line with other nations around the world that are increasingly adopting immediate Open Access policies. Last year, more than a dozen national research funders across Europe introduced “Plan S” to make all scientific works freely available as soon as they are published. Support for Open Access has also grown among private research funders, with foundations requiring immediate open access to articles and data. …”
“We the undersigned American scientists, publishers, funders, patient advocates, librarians and members of the public endorse a national policy that would ensure that Americans are no longer denied access to the results of research their tax dollars paid for. We have read recent media reports that the executive branch is considering a zero embargo taxpayer access policy, and we are writing to express our strong support for such a move….”
“On behalf of the U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) and the Student PIRGs, nonpartisan organizations representing more than 83,000 citizen members and 600,000 college students nationwide, we write to express our strong support for updating U.S. federal policy to make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use.
The U.S. government spends tens of billions of dollars annually on scientific research. As taxpayers, we invest in this research because advancing scientific progress benefits our economy, our quality of life, and our global competitiveness. However, under current policy, this research is often locked behind paywalls where most American taxpayers—including college students and our professors—cannot access it for at least a year after it is published.
Ensuring immediate access to the latest, cutting-edge research provides critical knowledge that we as students should be able to learn while and school and continue to access throughout our careers. Our education should be based on the latest, groundbreaking information and we should get access right away, not just when our campus can afford a journal subscription or after an embargo period expires. Making federally-funded research openly available to everyone—along with the data needed to validate the conclusions and any corresponding computer code—will significantly expand our access to the resources necessary for a complete, up-to-date education….”
“The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI), a group of colleges, universities, and research institutions committed to making the results of their researchers accessible to the world, supports providing American taxpayers immediate, free access to the results of scientific research that is publicly funded and supported by Federal agencies. We strongly endorse updating existing U.S. policy to eliminate the current 12-month embargo period on articles that report on publicly funded research, as instituted by the Obama administration, and to ensure that they are made immediately available to the public….”
Note: PLOS and other prominent organizations delivered the following letter to the Trump Administration on January 17, 2020. We encourage all publishing organizations and scholarly societies who would like to join us in support of OA in the USA to reach out to us at email@example.com — we can prepare an expanded letter with more signatories as necessary. Please also consider voicing your support on social media with the hashtag #OAintheUSA.
“In a recent letter to the White House, a group of corporate publishers and scholarly organizations implore the president to leave intact the current arrangements between publicly funded researchers and the publishing industry. Their letter is the latest move in a decades-long struggle between researchers and publishers over who controls the fruits of the researchers’ labor….
At least one learned society is already reconsidering the issue. The Association for Computing Machinery released a statement on January 9, saying that it regretted signing onto the publishers’ letter and reiterating its commitment to open access. We hope that readers of this essay will contact the leaders of their own learned societies to express their support for open science and their opposition to continuing the current publishing model. In order to solve the challenges the world now faces, the public needs reliable, affordable science. Producing it will require scientific institutions — including systems of scientific publishing — that serve science instead of holding it for ransom.”
“On behalf of the undersigned national and regional library, research, publishing, and advocacy organizations, we are writing to express our commitment to ensuring that American taxpayers are guaranteed immediate, free, and unfettered access to the results of scientific research that their tax dollars support, and to encourage the Administration to support continued progress towards this shared goal. We strongly endorse updating existing U.S. policy to eliminate the current 12-month embargo period on articles reporting on publicly funded research, and to ensure that they are made immediately available under terms and conditions that allow their full reuse. To unlock the full value of our collective investment in science, the underlying data needed to validate an article’s conclusions, along with any corresponding software or code, should also be made immediately available….”
“As a coalition representing more than 210 academic and research libraries on college and university campuses and related organizations across the country (see below for full list), we write to express our strong support for a federal policy that would make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. We wholeheartedly endorse updating current policy and eliminating the unnecessary 12-month waiting period for the public to gain access to the outputs of scientific research, including data, articles, and the supporting computer code.
Each year, the federal government uses taxpayer dollars to fund more than $60 billion dollars in scientific research. The government funds this research with the understanding that it will advance science, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and improve the lives of its citizens. Yet, under current policy, most taxpayers – including academics, students, and patients – are not able to access the results of the research that their tax dollars fund for at least a year.
The research is only available through prohibitively expensive subscriptions to scientific journals, or through individual pay-per-view schemes where articles cost upwards of $30 to view. No college or university – even well-funded private institutions like Harvard University – can afford to subscribe to all of the scientific journals that their faculty, researchers, and students require. As a result, major university library systems (most notably the University of California System) have publicly stated that the current system is broken, and that they will no longer pay to subscribe to expensive journal packages.
Immediate, barrier-free access policies can play a crucial role in ensuring that our nation’s scientific research infrastructure is designed to optimize the accessibility and utility of these articles from the outset, amplifying all of the desired outcomes from publicly funded research. The research community has long recognized the opportunity that immediate, barrier-free, online access presents to researchers to work faster, by enabling them to get to research articles and incorporate new findings into their research more rapidly….”
“Over the past few weeks, ACM leadership has listened to the concerns of our members regarding a letter we signed on to that addressed a forthcoming US Presidential Executive Order regarding the embargo of US federally-funded research. Our members have raised many important issues about the content of that letter. In response, ACM is sending a follow up letter to Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to clarify ACM’s position on Open Access and its support for a sustainable approach to Open Access. It will make the points we outline below.
The letter was interpreted by some ACM members as indicating that ACM is against Open Access. This could not be further from our intention. ACM chose to take the first steps in support of Open Science ideals almost a decade ago—long before the existence of Plan S in Europe or the 2013 US OSTP Open Access Mandate. For years, ACM authors have had the right to post accepted versions of their works to non-commercial repositories (including arXiv and institutional repositories). ACM-sponsored conferences can choose to make their proceedings publicly available from their own websites, either for a limited time or permanently. ACM Special Interest Groups can choose to make the publications from all their conferences publicly available.
ACM is committed to a sustainable future where all peer-reviewed scholarly articles will be Open Access. The transition to this model will take time and needs to be done in a way that ensures sustainability. Full Open Access will benefit the field of computer science significantly by increasing the sharing and citation of research accomplishments. Some of you commented on the US-centric focus of the White House directive and ACM’s response. The Executive Order would only impact research supported by US federal funding. However, as a global organization ACM is also engaged with related efforts in Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere.
We regret that co-signing the letter regarding the Executive Order created confusion and concern. Our publications policies and our focus on developing sustainable publication models for Open Access are both long-standing and forward-looking. Financially “sustainable” publications models are key to ACM’s future and its ability to reinvest in activities that promote the scientific foundations of computing. It is worth saying that ACM, too, had concerns about some language and the general tone of the letter, but ultimately decided that those concerns were outweighed by the risks associated with the White House issuing an Executive Order without proper consultation with stakeholders or consideration of the ramifications. In retrospect, we misgauged how our participation would be interpreted by the community. For this we are indeed sorry….”
“The University of California believes the public should have access to publicly-funded research, freely and immediately upon publication. We are deeply disappointed in the decision by these societies and publishers to sign this letter, which opposes progress in that direction.
The letter also includes misleading statements such as:
The publishers write: “Under a legacy regulation that is still in force today, proprietary journal articles that report on federally funded research must be made available for free within 12 months of publication.” Characterizing journal articles as the “proprietary” intellectual property of publishers obscures the fact that they represent the work of individual researchers, which is often funded, at taxpayer expense, by government research grants.
Moreover, current policy only requires free access to the pre-publication, author-owned manuscript within 12 months. There is no requirement to make publisher-owned versions freely available, ever.
The publishers also write: “In the coming years, this cost shift would place billions of dollars of new and additional burden on taxpayers.” The truth is that most current subscription payments to publishers already come from taxpayer funds that universities receive to cover their research infrastructure. Changing publishing, as proposed by UC, so that these institutions pay for publication services rather than for subscriptions does not increase taxpayer expenditure; it just repurposes those taxpayer dollars to pay for publishing in a way that allows the public to freely read the results, too….”