If taxpayers paid for it, they own it

The push for open access in research got a big boost on Friday with the release of a policy memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren, which has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.  Whew that was a long sentence!  This is a precursor to the hopefully eventual ratification of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act that was introduced both in the house and the senate on February 14th, 2013.  Check out this Wiki from the Harvard Open Access Project for more information on that and to track the progress of FASTR in congress.

Those of us in the know on this issue, which let’s face it should be all of us in academia, have seen the writing on the wall for quite some time.  And it’s thanks to the continued activism, advocacy, and articulate passion of so many in the academic community that we are at this point today.  If you have a moment, please read this joint letter from ARL, ALA, Creative Commons, PLOS, and many others offering support and a simple, but resonating rationale for the open access of scientific research.