May 21, 2020
On May 6, FABBS responded to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) request for information (RFI) on options for increasing public access to research papers, data, and code. FABBS expressed a shared commitment to increasing availability of published federally funded research, citing the efforts of our societies to create open access journals and shortening embargo periods. FABBS also acknowledged the shortcomings of the current model while expressing concern about proposed alternative models with minimal details. OSTP first issued the RFI back in January, well before most could have foreseen the massive disruptions to the scientific research infrastructure caused by COVID-19.
A range of stakeholder submissions underscore the tensions within the scientific community on the topic, with some groups supporting immediate open access to publications while others raised concerns of unintended consequences. While some groups argue that many institutions cannot afford to access the scientific literature under the current model and advocate for immediate free access to publications, others argue against article processing charges (APC) that could introduce barriers to early career scholars. The conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation released a report with the headline “Radical OSTP Proposal Would Undermine American Research and Sacrifice American Intellectual Property.”
Comments from the Council on Governmental Relations, together with AAU and APLU, encouraged OSTP to continue to explore “new research dissemination models where peer-review is managed more directly by the academy.”