The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) address concerns about public access and copyright raised by the August 2022 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) guidance, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” (also referred to as the Nelson memo). TL;DR: the Nelson memo has no implications for copyright policy.
The Nelson memo updated the 2013 memorandum “Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research.” Significantly, the 2022 guidance eliminates the previous 12-month embargo period for federally funded research, now requiring federal agencies to ensure that the research they fund is available immediately to the public at no cost. The new guidance applies to all agencies with extramural research and development budgets, an expansion on requirements from agencies with research and development budgets above $100 million. For more on how the federal government’s public-access guidance changed from 2013 to 2022, see this side-by-side comparison.