Senators Urge OSTP to Create Public Access Policy for Federally Funded Research Articles

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Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., have urged the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a comprehensive governmentwide policy that would make data from federally funded studies available to the public.

The two lawmakers told Alondra Nelson, acting director of OSTP, in a letter Wednesday that granting free access and re-use rights for federally sponsored research, such as publications regarding COVID-19 and cancer, could support public health initiatives throughout the country.

Wyden and Markey said the implementation of a national open-access policy would help researchers to quickly gather data for their projects and bring studies to a wider audience.

“We ask that you work quickly and aggressively to make this goal a reality, ensuring that the hard-earned tax dollars of everyday Americans are being invested in American communities and to update and strengthen current federal public access policies and to prioritize equity, sustainability, and strategic technological development,” the senators said in their missive to Nelson.

They pointed out that some libraries and other members of the scientific community cannot afford to access results published on paid journal subscriptions while some researchers lack the funds to join their publishers’ open-access programs.

The letter comes after OSTP’s report to Congress on the implementation of the public-access efforts across federal departments and agencies as laid down in a 2013 office memorandum.

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