Today, PIJIP Director and PLoS Board Member Michael Carroll commended the Obama Administration for issuing an historic policy Directive that opens up access to the crucial results of publicly funded research by directing all federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with free and unlimited online access to the results that research:

“Today, the Obama Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy adopted a pro-Internet, pro-science, pro-innovation policy that requires research articles reporting the results of federally funded research to be made available over the Internet.  Importantly, the policy also addresses research data and directs that these data should be made public to the greatest extent feasible. Agencies should embrace these opportunities to increase the value and impact of the research they fund with vigor and creativity.”

The federal government funds tens of billions of dollars in scientific research each year, with the understanding that this taxpayer investment will advance science, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and improve the lives of all Americans or members of the public.  This research is then published in peer- reviewed scientific journals.  Yet most taxpayers – including academics, students, and patients – cannot access this public funded research because the publications are too expensive and hard to access.

Today’s action directs that the results of government-funded research – including both unclassified articles and data – must be made available to the general public for free and full use. Articles resulting from publicly funded research must be made available no later than 12 months after publication in a scientific journal.

The Directive marks a significant milestone in the larger movement toward Open Access, making all scholarly research freely accessible and fully reusable in a digital environment.

The Directive comes as the bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), is making is way through the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.  The legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).