U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy soliciting your feedback on “Improving Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research” until Dec 20, 2009

Posted by – December 12, 2009

The U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, under directives from the President Obama administration, is soliciting public feedback. Note the deadline!  (Dec. 10th-20th)

Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Implementation

Thursday, December 10th, 2009 at 7:25 pm by Public Interest Declassification Forum

By Diane DiEuliis and Robynn Sturm

Yesterday we announced the launch of the Public Access Forum, sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Beginning with today’s post, we look forward to a productive online discussion.

One of our nation’s most important assets is the trove of data produced by federally funded scientists and published in scholarly journals. The question that this Forum will address is: To what extent and under what circumstances should such research articles—funded by taxpayers but with value added by scholarly publishers—be made freely available on the Internet?

The Forum is set to run through Jan. 7, 2010, during which time we will focus sequentially on three broad themes (you can access the full schedule here). In the first phase of this forum (Dec. 10th-20th) we want to focus on the topic of Implementation.   Among the questions we’d like to have you, the public and various stakeholders, consider are:

  • Who should enact public access policies? Many agencies fund research the results of which ultimately appear in scholarly journals. The National Institutes of Health requires that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months after publication. Which other Federal agencies may be good candidates to adopt public access policies? Are there objective reasons why some should promulgate public access policies and others not? What criteria are appropriate to consider when an agency weighs the potential costs (including administrative and management burdens) and benefits of increased public access?
  • How should a public access policy be designed?
    1. Timing. At what point in time should peer-reviewed papers be made public via a public access policy relative to the date a publisher releases the final version? Are there empirical data to support an optimal length of time?  Different fields of science advance at different rates—a factor that can influence the short- and long-term value of new findings to scientists, publishers and others. Should the delay period be the same or vary across disciplines? If it should vary, what should be the minimum or maximum length of time between publication and public release for various disciplines? Should the delay period be the same or vary for levels of access (e.g. final peer reviewed manuscript or final published article, access under fair use versus alternative license)?
    2. Version. What version of the paper should be made public under a public access policy (e.g., the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript or the final published version)?  What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of different versions of a scientific paper?
    3. Mandatory v. Voluntary. The NIH mandatory policy was enacted after a voluntary policy at the agency failed to generate high levels of participation. Are there other approaches to increasing participation that would have advantages over mandatory participation?
    4. Other. What other structural characteristics of a public access policy ought to be taken into account to best accommodate the needs and interests of authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries, universities, the federal government, users of scientific literature and the public?

We invite your comments [...]

Give government your feedback on how to release data and publications from publicly funded research.

More information is in the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy video:

Promoting Transparency in Government

Posted by Peter Orszag on December 08, 2009 at 10:52 AM EST

Download Video: mp4 (461MB)

On his very first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum to all federal agencies directing them to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the federal government and the people it is to serve.  [...]

You may want to start by reading a more complete description of the issues in the Federal Register.

If you want to post comments directly to the government office, create a wordpress account on the government site at http://blog.ostp.gov/wp-login.php?action=register and post comments yourself to the government post at http://blog.ostp.gov/2009/12/10/policy-forum-on-public-access-to-federally-funded-research-implementation/#comments.  Deadline is Dec 20 for the first “phase”!

Q0: Who should enact public access policies? The National Institutes
of Health requires that research funded by its grants be made
available to the public online at no charge within 12 months after
publication. Which other Federal agencies may be good candidates to
adopt public access policies? Are there objective reasons why some
should promulgate public access policies and others not? What criteria
are appropriate to consider when an agency weighs the potential costs
(including administrative and management burdens) and benefits of
increased public access?

Q1: Timing. At what point in time should peer-reviewed papers be made
public via a public access policy relative to the date a publisher
releases the final version? Are there empirical data to support an
optimal length of time?

Q2: Version. What version of the paper should be made public under a
public access policy (e.g., the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript or
the final published version)? What are the relative advantages and
disadvantages of different versions of a scientific paper?

Q3: Mandatory v. Voluntary. The NIH mandatory policy was enacted after
a voluntary policy at the agency failed to generate high levels of
participation. Are there other approaches to increasing participation
that would have advantages over mandatory participation?

Q4: Other. What other structural characteristics of a public access
policy ought to be taken into account to best accommodate the needs
and interests of authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries,
universities, the federal government, users of scientific literature
and the public?

Further questions (from “Federal Register /Vol. 74, No. 235 / Wednesday, December 9, 2009 /Notices” )

1. How do authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries, universities, and the federal government contribute to the development and dissemination of peer reviewed papers arising from federal funds now, and how might this change under a public access policy?

2. What characteristics of a public access policy would best accommodate the needs and interests of authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries, universities, the federal government, users of scientific literature, and the public?

3. Who are the users of peer-reviewed publications arising from federal research? How do they access and use these papers now, and how might they if these papers were more accessible? Would others use these papers if they were more accessible, and for what purpose?

4. How best could federal agencies enhance public access to the peerreviewed papers that arise from their research funds? What measures could agencies use to gauge whether there is increased return on federal investment gained by expanded access?

5. What features does a public access policy need to have to ensure compliance?

6. What version of the paper should be made public under a public access policy (e.g., the author¿s peer reviewed manuscript or the final published version)? What are the relative advantages and disadvantages to different versions of a scientific paper?

7. At what point in time should peerreviewed papers be made public via a public access policy relative to the date a publisher releases the final version? Are there empirical data to support an optimal length of time? Should the delay period be the same or vary for levels of access (e.g., final peer reviewed manuscript or final published article, access under fair use versus alternative license), for federal agencies and scientific disciplines?

8. How should peer-reviewed papers arising from federal investment be made publiclyavailable? In what format should the data be submitted in order to make it easy to search, find, and retrieve and to make it easy for others to link to it? Are there existing digital standards for archiving and interoperability to maximize public benefit? How are these anticipated to change?

9. Access demands not only availability, but also meaningful usability. How can the federal government make its collections of peer reviewed papers more useful to the American public? By what metrics (e.g., number of articles or visitors) should the Federal government measure success of its public access collections? What are the best examples of usability in the private sector (both domestic and international)? And, what makes them exceptional? Should those who access papers be given the opportunity to comment or provide feedback?

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