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Big Step Toward Free and Open Access to Publicly Funded Research

Winchester, MA  The growth of the Internet along with many channels users have created to disseminate every kind of networked digital information has been a catalyst for the simple idea that access to the results of publicly funded research should be free and open.

On Feb. 22, 2013 the Obama Administration issued a game changing directive requiring all Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make federally funded research available to the public. This is a major victory for those committed institutions and individuals who have worked so hard to make open access to research a reality.

As early as 1998 the American Scientists Open Access Forum was launched. In 2001 the Public Library of Science (PLoS) came into being because 34,000 international scholars signed "An Open Letter to Scientific Publishers" calling for an online public library to provide open access to the published record of research and scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) founded the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) in 2007 "to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries."

SPARC and many other Open Access advocates have applauded the new directive: "The action today comes about after a ten-year campaign by the “Open Access” movement – scientists, universities, libraries, technology leaders, patient advocates, entrepreneurs, students, and every-day Americans – aimed at making taxpayer-funded scientific research freely accessible and fully reusable in a digital environment."

SPARC news release:

OSTP blog post announcing the White House directive: