“OSTP, and the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Subcommittee on Open Science (SOS), are engaged in ongoing efforts to facilitate implementation and compliance with the 2013 memorandum Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research? and to address recommended actions made by the Government Accountability Office in a November 2019 report. OSTP and the SOS continue to explore opportunities to increase access to unclassified published research, digital scientific data, and code supported by the U.S. Government. This RFI aims to provide all interested individuals and organizations with the opportunity to provide recommendations on approaches for ensuring broad public access to the peer-reviewed scholarly publications, data, and code that result from federally funded scientific research.
Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 11:59 p.m. ET on March 16, 2020….”
A joint statement calling on EU institutions to ensure the right of researchers to share their research findings without embargoes or restrictions has today been issued by three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers in Europe and beyond. The statement by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) calls upon the European Commission to propose legislation ensuring that researchers always retain the right to share their publicly funded, peer-reviewed research findings.
“The 18 December letter to Trump organized by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and signed by 135 professional societies builds its case around upholding US leadership in science. While I accept that invoking patriotism is sometimes necessary when appealing to politicians, I find the practice unsavory. Science is an international enterprise.
Still, how strongly is a country’s scientific prestige tied to its homegrown journals? Weakly, in my view. None of the top physics journals is Japanese, yet Japan is a physics powerhouse. In 1994 Stuttgart-based Holtzbrinck Publishing Group bought a controlling stake in London-based Macmillan Publishers, owners of Nature, arguably the world’s foremost scientific journal. Nature and its swelling number of stablemates remain under German ownership. The UK’s standing in science has not fallen nor has Germany’s risen as a result….”
“In December, in the midst of the political wrangling associated with President Trump’s impeachment, a news report gave me hope. According to it, Trump’s administration was working on an executive order that would require publishers to grant immediate free access to all journal articles that result from federally funded research. Predictably, the publication industry rapidly issued a scathing critique of the idea, signed by 140 publishers and academic societies. Although the Trump administration is widely viewed to be anti-science, it would be a mistake to interpret the presence of academic societies on this letter as representing the interests of science writ large. Within two days of the industry letter, a coalition representing 210 academic and research libraries wrote an open letter to the White House supporting changing federal policy in exactly the way the executive order is rumored to do. Indeed, there have long been calls for opening access to research results. This is an area where U.S. lags behind Europe in policy and Latin America in development of open access journals and databases.
In an era when most presidential actions are viewed primarily through partisan lenses, it is worth taking a step back and considering why this rumored proposal elicited a polarized response, but one that did not fall along partisan lines. A lot of money is at stake. But so too are the essences of scientific communication and scientific self-governance….”
“Twenty-one Nobel laureates have written to the White House urging the president to push ahead with an executive order that would mandate free and immediate access to research papers funded by US taxes. The proposed policy would toss out current rules, in place since 2013, that requires taxpayer-funded research published in journals to be made freely available within a year….”
“Earlier this month, a rumor began to circulate that the US government was planning on passing an executive order that would mandate all papers from federally funded research be open access immediately upon publication—abolishing the 12-month paywall allowed under current rules.
In response, more than 135 scientific societies and academic publishers penned an open letter to President Donald Trump’s Administration strongly opposing such a policy, warning that the proposed changes would “jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals and research articles and would potentially delay the publication of new research results.” The letter has been widely criticized by academics and open-access advocates on social media….
Although the [Plan S] coalition has managed to gain some international members, the overall response to Plan S has been lukewarm outside of Europe. India’s government, for example, decided to forgo joining the coalition and develop its own national effort to advance open access, despite earlier indications that it would be joining the group. In Latin America, where Argentina has joined cOAlition S, academics have raised concerns about the initiative’s focus on pay-for-publishing models. One worry is that if funders or universities are required to cover fees for publishing open access in commercial journals, financial resources could be diverted from their current system, under which journals are free to publish in and free to read—and scientific publications are owned by academic institutions….”
“Led by UC Berkeley’s Randy Schekman, 21 Nobel laureates from the United States have sent an open letter to President Donald Trump urging him to follow through on a rumored plan to make all federally funded research studies free for the public to read immediately upon publication.
Currently, most journals require a subscription to read their published articles, or make them publicly accessible after a certain period of time. In 2013, President Barack Obama required that all research funded by the U.S. government be made freely available online within 12 months of publication, specifically the peer-reviewed and accepted versions that authors receive prior to journal publication.
The rumor of a presidential executive order lifting this 12-month embargo and requiring immediate publication of author-accepted manuscripts originated in December, though it’s unclear who started the rumor. Several for-profit scientific publishing houses quickly expressed strong opposition, warning of dire consequences for U.S. discovery and innovation….”
“Signatories [to the AAP letter to Donald Trump] wrote about their role “fostering the American leadership in science that drives our economy and global competitiveness”. They suggested that an open access mandate “would significantly harm the system of peer-reviewed scholarly communication that fuels America’s leadership in research and innovation”. They urged the president to oppose this proposal. Many who signed the letter were indeed US-based organisations (such as the American Medical Association and American College of Physicians). But others would probably consider their missions to go beyond “fostering…American leadership in science”. They would almost certainly claim they had a global remit, not one narrowly confined to advancing “American competitiveness”. The letter was signed, for example, by the New England Journal of Medicine, Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, and The Lancet’s publisher, Elsevier. At last week’s Academic Publishing in Europe annual meeting, held in Berlin, Professor Günter Ziegler (President of the Free University of Berlin) mocked the catastrophist language used by publishers in this letter. “There is no such thing as American science or American publishing”, he said. Science is a truly global enterprise. His reprimand showed how far apart the values of science and science publishing have drifted in recent years….
Publishers are understandably nervous. Coalition S, a consortium of research funders that includes the Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and WHO, has called for the research they pay for to “be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo”. Their policy will be implemented in 2021. Publishers have held decisive power in shaping the dissemination of science for over 300 years. That power is now being challenged. It is an uncomfortable reset. But from the funder’s perspective it is entirely reasonable they have a voice in the way the science they support is reported. The result of this accelerating shift in power has been an escalating conflict between traditional scientific publishers and funding bodies. Yet, despite the anomaly of that ill-judged letter to President Trump, there were signs in Berlin that both sides were seeking an accommodation….
Scientific publishers as we know them today remain a threatened species. They will have to do more to prove their added value to science and society. Unless they do so, they may not deserve to survive.”
“On Friday, December 13, 2019, Research!America confirmed to the broader scientific community that the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) would soon issue an Executive Order (EO) requiring open access immediately for all scientific publications resulting from research supported by US federal grants. Such an immediate change would inject chaos into the current means of disseminating research findings and potentially cause serious financial challenges for many scientific societies.
Over the ensuing weekend, two public letters were drafted to the US presidential administration and other American politicians. One letter was led by the American Chemical Society (which focused on the impact of the EO on scientific societies) and the other letter was led by the Association of American Publishers (that focused on the economic impact of the EO). The goal was to insist that the US administration reconsider any impulsive action so journals and societies could evaluate and adapt to the proposed change in an orderly way. There was no opportunity for APS to offer edits….”
“Today, January 24, 2020, the APS Board sent a letter to the Trump Administration, expressing regret for having signed a letter, led by the Association of American Publishers, in protest of an impending executive order from the Trump Administration to mandate immediate open access for all publications reporting on US federally-funded research. This letter is to you, our members, and to the wider scientific community. It builds on our statement of December 23, 2019 and represents our current thoughts on the situation….”