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White House releases guidance to make taxpayer-funded research freely available

From: University Libraries

University Libraries at Virginia Tech is closely examining the guidance recently released by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that will make taxpayer-funded research immediately available at no cost to the public.

In the Aug. 25, 2022 OSTP memo Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research, the new guidance called on all federal agencies to create policies that eliminate the current 12-month waiting period for access to articles and data of federally-funded research.

The forthcoming policy changes will take effect no later than Dec. 31, 2025.

A few key takeaways from guidance in the Aug. 25 memo:

  • Covers all federal agencies and departments, which is an expansion from the 20 agencies covered under the current policy.
  • Ensures that research publications are machine-readable so they’re more useful to researchers and the public through text and data mining, computational analysis, and other technologies.
  • Extends the current policy’s scope to include research articles and data, peer-reviewed book chapters, editorials, and conference proceedings.
  • Calls for underlying data of published research conclusions to be made immediately available.
  • Calls for the use of persistent identifiers for all research outputs.

The University Libraries is a vocal advocate for increasing public access to data and research to expand and elevate the impact of Virginia Tech’s faculty and student scholarship. 

“Since March 2021 when the university’s open access policy was approved by the Board of Visitors, making research articles and data available to the public through open access is not new to Virginia Tech researchers,” said University Libraries Dean Tyler Walters. “The University Libraries has the expertise, services, and infrastructure to assist faculty in complying with current and future policies to make their work open, and we are looking forward to continuing this partnership with researchers.”

The University Libraries maintains the university’s open scholarship repository VTechWorks and the university’s Open Data Repository. Library faculty consistently provide workshops, consultations, and other resources on topics related to copyright, data management and sharing, open publishing support, and research impact.

The University Libraries is well positioned to fully support Virginia Tech researchers and scholars as federal agency open publishing policies are developed and implemented over the next two years.

“We believe that everyone should have access to knowledge. This is a cornerstone to accelerating future discovery that could impact our society and the world,” said Walters. “The University Libraries will closely watch how these agency policies develop and will continue to provide our expertise and services to help researchers be fully compliant with current and future requirements.”

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