Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its plan to implement public access to research funded by the agency, in response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directive. This plan will be implemented for grants awarded after October 1, 2014 and will be open to review and change in response to public comment and petition by concerned stakeholders.
In its plan, the agency will utilize the CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States) service to link to peer-reviewed articles from scholarly publishers. CHORUS is an independent, not-for-profit service developed by publishers to provide public access solutions for all federal agencies with minimal cost to the government. The DOE will also develop a proprietary additional repository and linking infrastructure. The plan sets a 12-month post-publication embargo on release of the published articles.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released the following statement:
“We welcome the Department of Energy’s work to advance public access. Publishers have been engaged in the dialogue leading to today’s announcement and we look forward to participating in the administrative process that will follow.
“While we support aspects of the plan, our principal concern is its assumption that a universal 12-month embargo is sustainable for all disciplines. It is not. A major study of journal usage has demonstrated significant variability among disciplines in the time during which articles are accessed by scholars and the public.
“A commitment to expand public access to scholarship requires the ability to sustain the pipeline of vetted, quality content. While the federal government funds scientific research, publishers invest in the significant editorial, technological and financial assets required to produce and preserve the high-quality, peer-reviewed journal articles reporting on that research. Plans built around publishers’ contributions must respect the usage patterns of distinct disciplines to avoid undermining the ecosystem of scholarly communication. We agree with a core principle of the Obama Administration: administrative policies should be evidence-based, not shaped from conjecture.
“We appreciate the agency’s acknowledgement of CHORUS, the public-private partnership conceived by publishers to support and serve the OSTP’s goals and embraced by stakeholders across the scholarly community.
“AAP will continue our collaborative work with the Department to ensure that our shared goal of expanded public access to knowledge is achieved through solutions that respect the economic realities enabling the scholarly communication system that has served science so well for so long.”
The first comprehensive study of journal usage referenced above, with data from more than 2800 journals in various disciplines, was released in December 2013.