Washington Update

OSTP Issues Directive to Expand Public Access to Federally Funded Research

By: Yvette Seger
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
On August 25, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum to federal departments and agencies directing them to update public access policies to ensure free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research. This memorandum builds upon the Memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research, issued by OSTP in 2013, which required federal departments and agencies with over $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to enhance public access to research outputs, including scholarly publications and digital data.

A key difference between the current memorandum and the one issued in 2013 is the timeline for making research papers publicly available. The new memorandum cites the 12-month post-publication embargo as a barrier to public access and thus requires agencies to update public access plans to allow for free and immediate access to peer reviewed scholarly publications. Agencies with greater than $100 million in annual research and development investments are required to submit their updated public access plans to OSTP within 180 days (February 23, 2023), with final plans and implementation strategies published by December 31, 2024, and effective December 31, 2025.

Phase 2 of the current memo seeks to enhance scientific and research integrity and strengthen public trust in federally funded science. To achieve this, agencies will be required to provide a second update to their public access plans, detailing the collection and public accessibility of key metadata associated with scholarly publications via unique digital persistent identifiers. Agency plans for implementing this second phase must be published by December 31, 2026, and effective no later than December 31, 2027.