Open Access Movement Continues to Gain Steam at CU, Nationally, and Abroad

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From the tragic death of (Internet activist and digital wunderkind) Aaron Swartz to a recent CU-Boulder faculty resolution, new federal funding agency policy directives from the White House, and extensive international media coverage, the movement to provide open access to research and scholarship continues to build momentum and evolve at a rapid pace.

Inspired in part by the life and death of the aforementioned Aaron Swartz, undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley recently launched a campaign to promote open access to research on their campus. For any like-minded CU undergrads looking to learn more about or get involved with open access efforts on this campus, librarians are here to help.

Speaking of open access efforts on this campus, the Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) recently passed a resolution brought forward by the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) in support of open access to research and scholarly information. We at the library commend the BFA and UGGS for taking this important step toward providing widespread access to some of the highest quality information available.

The BFA resolution followed on the heels of a landmark policy memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that will expand public access to the results of research funded by any federal agency with research expenditures of over $100 million.

The upshot of this new policy for researchers is that once funding agencies respond to this memo (they were given six months to do so), articles based on federally-funded research must be made freely available to the public within one year of publication. Researchers will also be required to submit data management plans outlining how long-term preservation and access will be provided for data from federally-funded research.

What can researchers do now?

What agencies will be affected?

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce (including NIST and NOAA)
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services (including AHRQ, CDC, FDA, and NIH)
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of the Interior (including USGS)
  • Department of Transportation (including FAA and FHWA)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • USAID

Who can help?

Researchers who do not receive funding from agencies affected by this policy can still promote public access to research through any of the actions listed above.

Finally, in yet another example of the increased international media attention surrounding open access issues, The Economist recently took a look at open-access scientific publishing, explaining why academic publishers have “almost a monopoly pricing power over publications” and what government funding agencies are doing to increase public access to research.

Librarians will continue to monitor these issues and provide support for any questions you might have, so please don’t hesitate to ask!

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