US Directives

In the United States, requirements regarding public access to publications and data arising from federally funded research can be stipulated by the executive or legislative branches of the government.  For example, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a public access directive in 2013.  The Appropriations Act of 2014 requires selected federal agencies to provide public access to the research they fund. 

Mandated public access to publications and data

In February 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research .  The Memorandum, a.k.a. the OSTP Directive, directed federal agencies that fund more than $100 million in research to develop policies requiring public access and re‐use rights to peer‐reviewed publications and digital data arising from that funding.  The Directive went into effect immediately.  Draft policies must be available for review by September 2013.  The effective dates of the policies can be no sooner than the publication date of the agency’s final plan.  The Open Data Policy was issued in May 2013.

Pending legislation  

Introduced in both the US Senate and House of Representatives in March, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act of 2015 would require each federal agency with extramural research expenditures exceeding $100 million to develop a public access policy. If passed into law, FASTR would require each federal agency to stipulate the following:

  • Authors must submit to the federal agency an electronic version of the final peer-reviewed manuscript of articles that (a) report on research supported by the agency’s funding and (b) have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The final manuscript may be replaced with the final published version of the article if (a) the publisher allows it and (b) the goals of functionality and interoperability are retained.
  • Articles must be deposited in a digital repository that provides free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation, either a repository maintained by the agency or a repository that meets these conditions.
  • Free online public access to the articles must be provided no later than 6 months after publication.
  • Articles must be made freely available in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis.
  • The agency must produce and maintain an online bibliography of all research papers publicly accessible under the policy, with each entry linking to the corresponding free online full text.

The University Libraries prepared a table comparing the OSTP Directive and FASTR.

As of January 17, 2014, the United States federal government has a new set of open access mandates adopted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Similar to the NIH public access policy, the Act directs affected agencies to develop public access policies that require:

  • Submission to the agency, or a designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, of a machine-readable version of the author's final peer-reviewed manuscript describing research supported by federal funding 
  • Free online public access to the final peer-reviewed manuscript or published version in a trusted repository no later than 12 months after publication
  • Compliance will U.S. copyright law

The agencies affected by the public access provision in the Appropriations Act include:

In addition, research universities and other institutions worldwide are increasingly adopting a public access mandate or open access policy.  For example, the Microsoft Research Open Access Policy was announced in January 2014.  For a fairly comprehensive list of institutional mandates, see the Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP).