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Major changes to open-access policy are revealed by the US government.

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The administration of President Joe Biden has declared that  should make the findings of government financed research available for free reading as soon as they are published. This is a fundamental change from the current regulations, which allow articles to be published outside paywalls up to a year after acceptance.

The shift, to be put into effect by the end of 2025, if not sooner, is a boost for the expanding open access (OA) movement to make scientific data openly available because the United States is the largest research sponsor in the world. Plan S, a push for zero-embargo OA backed by European donors, has already greatly promoted this. Peter Suber,

Director of the Harvard Open Access Project at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says “It’s a really huge deal.” According to Johan Rooryck, executive director of the cOAlition S group of funders, which is spearheading the European-led Plan S, “this new US policy is a game changer for academic publishing.”

In a memo to government agencies, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the change in policy on August 25. The OSTP advises agencies to make sure that peer-reviewed work from their grant winners is made accessible as soon as it is published in a public repository that has been approved by the agency. In the upcoming six to twelve months, each agency can create its own protocols outlining exactly how this is to be done.

In a statement, Alondra Nelson, the interim director of the OSTP, said that the American people yearly contribute tens of billions of dollars to cutting-edge research. The American public and the benefits on their research investments “should not be delayed or hindered.”

The White House does not mandate that articles in scholarly publications be made open access. However, since future US research publications would be made readily accessible in repositories, publishers may worry that libraries may stop subscribing to their journals.

According to observers, they could respond by turning more toward OA publication. As of yet, journal publishers who were contacted by the Nature news team have answered that they are dedicated to giving researchers OA choices. However, some claim they are concerned about the viability of their enterprises and expect US authorities would increase financing for OA publication.

Instant access

The OSTP recommendation extends nearly 20 years of US public access rules. Major biomedical research funder the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) instructed award winners in 2008 to place their works in a public repository within a year of publication.

Five years later, the rule was expanded by the administration of then-US President Barack Obama to cover receivers of cash from about 20 federal agencies. More than eight million scientific papers have been made available for free reading as a result of that strategy, and three million individuals see them all each day.

The one-year grace period is gone according to the most recent White House guidelines. According to the White House, it was created over the past year with consultation from a number of government departments. It is claimed that by guaranteeing that everyone has access to the findings of taxpayer-funded research,

The policy would promote innovation and openness. Due to the enormous number of agencies and the wide range of research projects they support, from fundamental and applied science to the humanities, it has been challenging to gain support from the whole US federal government. Suber declares, “Now we will be wall-to-wall open access.

Those who monitor open access developments are anticipating changes to the US policy’s impact on the science publishing sector as a whole. Robert Kiley, head of strategy at cOAlition S, thinks that a lot will rely on how publishers respond.

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