In 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research”, directing federal funding agencies to develop and implement new policies around public access of federally funded research. This policy builds upon a 2013 memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research.”
February 21, 2023: Agencies with more than $100 million in annual research and development (R&D) expenditures update existing policies and submit to OSTP and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In line with their stated goal of transparency in this process, the NIH decided to open up their draft plan for public comment, with feedback due by April 24th, 2023
August 20, 2023: Agencies with with $100 million or less in annual research and development (R&D) expenditures draft public access policies and submit to OSTP and (OMB).
December 31, 2024: All agencies have completed and published updated policies.
December 31, 2025: All agencies have fully implemented updated policies.
While there is an open question of how this change will impact how the costs of publishing and hosting research and data are distributed, there is nothing in the memo that requires or encourages researchers to pay Article Processing Fees (APCs) or any other form of publication costs. Agency officials have indicated that they intend researchers to fulfill these requirements by depositing articles and underlying data in designated repositories.
Researchers may request funding to cover “reasonable publication costs” but no form of publication or business model is advocated for. A Frequently Asked Questions issued by the White House in December 2022 specifically states “Importantly, adherence to and implementation of the policy guidance in the 2022 Memorandum does not require expense on the part of the researcher.”
While memo itself does not advocate for any particular business or access model, the Ivy Plus Libraries have articulated concern that commercial publishers may have an outsized impact on the conversation on what Open and Public Access look like.