Re: Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code Resulting From Federally Funded Research

“Authors Alliance welcomes the opportunity to respond to this request for information on Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code Resulting From Federally Funded Research.1 Authors Alliance is a nonprofit organization with the mission to advance the interests of authors who want to serve the public good by sharing their creations broadly.2 We create resources to help authors understand and enjoy their rights and promote policies that make knowledge and culture available and discoverable. We strongly support removing price and permission barriers to access the results of federally funded research because doing so: • Is consistent with most scientific authors’ wishes; • Supports learning, teaching, research, and practice; and • Creates a more hospitable environment for scientific advancement….”

Common Misconceptions About Open Access To Taxpayer-Funded Research

“The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is reportedly considering a policy that would provide taxpayers with fast, barrier-free access to the results of scientific research that their tax dollars have funded. Such a policy is widely supported by scientists, universities, students, libraries, funders, patients advocates, and the public, as it would accelerate discovery, fuel innovation and economic growth, and improve the public good. However, we are aware of several letters circulating that raise deeply misleading concerns about the potential effects of policy. Specifically, they claim: …”

Public Responses Received for Request for Information85 FR 9488: Public Access to PeerReviewed Scholarly Publications, Data, and Code Resulting from Federally-Funded Research: February 19, 2020 –May 6, 2020

“This document is a compilation of comments provided in response to a public Request for Information issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The information contained herein does not represent and is not intended to represent any position, recommendation, or views of the White House, OSTP, or any U.S. Government organization.”

Arcadia Fund | Our response to the OSTP’s Request for Information on Open Access – Arcadia Fund

“A significant part of Arcadia’s mission is to protect endangered nature. In order to best protect threatened landscapes and biodiversity, it is vital that the latest research is easily and freely available to everyone engaged in conservation and restoration sciences. Yet recent analysis of a large survey conducted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicates that half of the 2,285 respondents find it ‘not easy’ or ‘not at all easy’ to access relevant scientific research [1]. This is no surprise, as 85% of all conservation biology papers are not open for public readership [2]. These include many studies funded by US federal agencies. The situation is similar across most disciplines. For instance, in ophthalmology: across medical institutions there is widespread inequality of access to field-relevant research [3]. As these examples show, the traditional subscription journals business model does not provide equitable access to research paid for by public or philanthropic funds. It fails to provide sufficient easy access to discipline-relevant literature even to practitioners of the discipline, be it conservation sciences, ophthalmology or other scientific endeavours.

With easier and cheaper access, both researchers and practitioners would be more effective and productive.

Federal agencies have the power to mandate that federally-funded research should be immediately publicly available online, without a paywall, on publication. The United States has digital research infrastructures that could and would support such a policy. Government scientific research funders in Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Jordan, the United Kingdom, and Zambia have all committed to mandating the immediate public availability of government-funded research online, without a paywall. The world is now facing a pandemic that scientific research can help to solve. The United States would show leadership by making immediate public access to government-funded research the new normal. This would maximize the return on investment of US funded research – paywalled research outputs are a misuse and misappropriation of tax dollars.

We also note that academic paywalls harm national security: military consultancies and defense contractors have inadequate access to the latest research, which can deter them from turning concepts into reality [4]. The Department of Defense publishes unclassified research whilst protecting classified material. Open Access as practiced by Federal agencies is not a threat to national, military, or commercial interests….”

Strong Community Response to Free Scholarly Article Access to Fight COVID-19 – SPARC

“Fighting the global coronavirus pandemic will take a collaborative effort like no other. Immediate, free open access to research results is vital to accelerating the global research community’s progress towards COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines.

COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a free and growing resource with 59,000 scholarly articles related to virus, is a glimmer of hope in the quest for answers. The dataset, hosted by the Allen Institute for AI and developed in partnership with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and others, enables researchers to apply novel artificial intelligence and machine learning strategies to identify new knowledge to help end the pandemic. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy kicked off the CORD-19 initiative as it looked for ways to leverage AI and machine learning to address COVID-19….”

Strong Community Response to Free Scholarly Article Access to Fight COVID-19 – SPARC

“Fighting the global coronavirus pandemic will take a collaborative effort like no other. Immediate, free open access to research results is vital to accelerating the global research community’s progress towards COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines.

COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a free and growing resource with 59,000 scholarly articles related to virus, is a glimmer of hope in the quest for answers. The dataset, hosted by the Allen Institute for AI and developed in partnership with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and others, enables researchers to apply novel artificial intelligence and machine learning strategies to identify new knowledge to help end the pandemic. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy kicked off the CORD-19 initiative as it looked for ways to leverage AI and machine learning to address COVID-19….”

Will Trump White House tear down journal paywalls? Many anxiously await a decision | Science | AAAS

“Scientific publishers, universities, librarians, and open-access (OA) advocates are waiting anxiously to see whether the Trump administration will end a long-standing policy and require that every scholarly article produced with U.S. funding be made immediately free to all.

Such a mandate has long been fiercely opposed by some publishers and scientific societies that depend on subscription revenues from journals. But critics of paywalls argue they are expensive and outmoded, and that tearing them down is the best way to advance scientific research.

On 6 May, the deadline passed on a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for public comments on ways to expand public access to the fruits of federally funded research, including published papers, data, and computer codes. In February, OSTP also asked for input on the benefits and challenges of making the roughly 220,000 papers produced annually by U.S.-funded researchers immediately free on publication, and on “effective approaches” to making that happen….”

IP Scholars File Comments with OSTP on Public Access to Scholarly Publications – Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property

“A group of intellectual property scholars filed comments yesterday with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), asking it to forgo its plans to make all federally-funded scholarly publications free and open to the public upon initial publication. The comments were submitted in response to a notice of Request for Information (RFI) that was published in the Federal Register seeking recommendations “on approaches for ensuring broad public access to the peer-reviewed scholarly publications, data, and code that result from federally funded scientific research.”

While the RFI did not specifically mention intellectual property rights, it is clear that any proposal to provide free access to federally-funded scholarly publications would have significant ramifications for the copyright owners of those works. The comments argue that any such plan to further lessen the exclusive rights of these owners should be rejected as it “ignores and destroys the resource-intensive review, translation, and commercialization processes required to produce and disseminate these manuscripts” and “confuses the so-called public domain with the public sphere or market.” …”

Trump Administration Would ‘Eviscerate’ Copyright, Say Industry Players

““The Trump Administration should not permit the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to eviscerate the key constitutional and economic function of copyright law by forcing US intellectual property owners to give away their copyrighted works for free to China and the rest of the world.”

Submission to the White House OSTP · Peter Suber

“As a result of the OSTP memorandum of February 2013, the largest federal research-funding agencies now require OA to research articles rising from their grants. But in every case they allow embargoes before those works must become OA. The 2013 memorandum itself recommends 12 months as the default embargo.

I’m writing to urge OSTP to reduce and ultimately eliminate these embargoes. They deliberately slow public access to publicly-funded research. In this way, they hinder researchers, research institutions, and research itself. For the same reasons, they hurt taxpayers who funded the research and for whom federal policy should maximize the public benefits of publicly-funded research. 

These embargoes were created in response to lobbying requests from publishers. In that sense, they benefit a private interest at the expense of the public interest. Yet to this day there is no evidence that eliminating embargoes would hurt publishers….”