The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) enthusiastically welcomes today’s announcement by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that the administration has updated the 2013 “Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research” memorandum with new policy guidance, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research.” The new guidance focuses on immediate public access to federally funded research and the embrace of information-integrity measures, including persistent digital identifiers. In a significant expansion over prior policy, this guidance applies to all federal agencies with any research and development expenditures.
This update is a historic moment for scientific communications. The new policy guidance calls for agency plans to remove the 12-month post-publication embargo period for peer-reviewed manuscripts that result from federally funded scientific research. The agency plans will also require the simultaneous sharing of research data associated with the publications; the data should be shared in repositories that comply with the National Science and Technology Council’s Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research. This acceleration of the public’s access to government-funded research is consistent with the research community’s increasing embrace of open-science practices, and with the need to address such global challenges as health, climate, and economic inequality. By signaling the importance of agency policies that work equitably for people from underserved backgrounds and for early-career researchers, as well as ensuring outputs are accessible to people with disabilities, this new policy guidance bolsters the administration’s focus on advancing equity, and on increasing public participation in the federal scientific enterprise.
“Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” aligns with the White House’s priorities to strengthen open and secure access to federal data for evidence-based decision-making, and to use a whole-of-government approach to scientific integrity. This includes faster sharing of data, and measures to make research outputs more accessible and reusable by students, scholars, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and the general public, while protecting sensitive information, security, and privacy. Research libraries are key partners within their institutions in providing access to information and providing infrastructure and services to support the implementation of open and rigorous scientific-research practices. ARL has been a leader in bringing visibility to, and representing, research libraries in their role supporting open science and information integrity. The Association has collaboratively developed implementation guidance for ARL members in the areas of persistent digital identifiers (PIDS), expenses related to public access to research data, and strategies for research libraries to develop research-data services.
OSTP’s commitment to harmonization and consistency of these new plans among federal agencies is essential. For ARL’s member institutions, harmonization of policies eases the development and maintenance of institutional services and technology. ARL looks forward to working with agencies and research institutions on the realization of these new plans, including working with existing research infrastructures, such as institutional repositories, tool builders, scientific-data repositories, and other community-owned services and technology.
According to the policy guidance, agencies will update their public-access policies as soon as possible, and no later than December 31, 2025. Additionally, there are a number of rolling deadlines for some of the guidance’s provisions.
Equitable and enduring access to information is the mission of research libraries and, collectively, we applaud the OSTP’s update to make research immediately accessible.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of research libraries in Canada and the US whose vision is to create a trusted, equitable, and inclusive research and learning ecosystem and prepare library leaders to advance this work in strategic partnership with member libraries and other organizations worldwide. ARL’s mission is to empower and advocate for research libraries and archives to shape, influence, and implement institutional, national, and international policy. ARL develops the next generation of leaders and enables strategic cooperation among partner institutions to benefit scholarship and society. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.