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Open Access

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Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research

On February 19, 2020, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) opened up a new Request for Information (RFI) on the issue of Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research. Access the notice of RFI here.

As you know, despite the fact that U.S. taxpayers spend upwards of $65 billion each year to fund basic and applied research, the articles that report on the results of this work are too often locked behind expensive paywalls, and the data remain largely inaccessible. The Administration is looking for community input on changing this, and this RFI process is our chance to provide crucial guidance. This is a critical time in U.S. policy development, and we strongly encourage you to consider submitting a response.

The RFI is only open for a very short time - submissions are due into OSTP by April 6, 2020. To help you, Genetic Alliance hosted a webinar with Heather Joseph of SPARC to discuss the questions, provide talking points for your potential responses, and walk through the submission process. You can access the webinar recording here.

Please direct any questions about the webinar to Vilma Whittier.

Our History

Genetic Alliance strongly supports Open Access and has had a leadership role in the public policies changes implemented by NIH over the years.

Early in 2013, NIH announced that for non-competing continuation grant awards with a start date of July 1, 2013 or beyond:  1) NIH will delay processing of an award if publications arising from it are not in compliance with the NIH public access policyand 2) Investigators will need to use My NCBI to enter papers onto progress reports.

President Obama signed the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law on March 11, 2009, which includes a provision making the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy permanent. The provision, titled “The NIH Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access”, requires eligible NIH-funded researchers to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into PubMed Central (PMC), the National Library of Medicine’s online archive. Full texts of the articles are to be made publicly-available and searchable online in PMC no later than 12 months after publication in a journal. The previous NIH Public Access Policy was implemented with a provision that was subject to annual renewal. Genetic Alliance applauds Congress for its tireless support of the policy and its recognition of the power of technology and innovation in enabling new solutions for the proactive management of health, consumer-driven healthcare, and novel partnerships and collaborations in research.

In 2005, the NIH announced a policy designed to provide consumers with “open access” to published articles resulting from NIH-funded research, meaning American taxpayers would have free access to peer-reviewed results of research funded by the NIH. The policy called on scientists to release the public manuscripts from research supported by NIH as soon as possible and within 12 months of final publication. In the following two years, only 5% of researchers followed the voluntary policy. In 2007, efforts to make open access policy mandatory yielded success. All relevant documents were made available through PubMed Central (PMC), a searchable, electronic archive of NIH publications.

For more information, visit this excellent resource: SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a major champion of Open Access. SPARC is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication.

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