Embargo No More!

August 29th, 2022 by  | Comments Off on Embargo No More!

PKP Welcomes White House Rule on Immediate Open Access.  

On August 25th 2022, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy terminated a major concession to publishers on the road to open access. The OSTP memo indicates that by December 31st, 2025, publishers will have to provide immediate public access to research sponsored by U.S. federal agencies, from Agricultural Research to Veterans Affairs. 

This puts an end to the 12-month embargo on open access following publication that publishers have been allowed to impose for more than a decade on this research. It will double the number of open articles that physicians seek access to in the course of their work, an earlier study of ours has shown. 

The OSTP ruling also calls for a similar immediate access to research data. The government’s goal is to foster “a scientific culture that values collaboration and data sharing.” Based on what we have seen with the original embargo policy, it should not be long before Canada and other jurisdictions adopt a similar policy. 

Among other policy details, we also commend the call for “transparently communicating to the public critical information… to strengthen public trust in federally funded science.” PKP is testing a Publication Facts Label designed to serve as a standard for the publishing industry providing just such critical information on peer review, research sponsors, competing interests, etc. Our version is designed to match the familiar Nutrition Facts label on food products in North America, with variations on these labels used in many parts of the world.

Now, questions remain with this new OSTP policy. Does “immediate public access,” for example, refer to the final draft, which has counted up this point, or to actual “publications,” as cited in the policy? Will publishers respond with subscription price and APC increases? 

Still, it is inspiring to see the shared beliefs that many of us hold about open access forming the basis of new policy directives, namely, that such access “can improve lives, provide policymakers with important evidence with which to make critical decisions, accelerate the rates of discovery and translation, and drive more equitable outcomes across every sector of society.” 

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