Currently, the National Institutes of Health is the only federal body that requires that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months of publication. The US Administration is seeking views as to whether this policy should be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented. You can follow the discussion at the OSTC Blog.

The discussion will occur in three major phases:

  • Implementation: Which Federal agencies are good candidates to adopt Public Access policies? What variables (field of science, proportion of research funded by public or private entities, etc.) should affect how public access is implemented at various agencies, including the maximum length of time between publication and public release?
  • Features and Technology: In what format should the data be submitted in order to make it easy to search and retrieve information, and to make it easy for others to link to it? Are there existing digital standards for archiving and interoperability to maximize public benefit? How are these anticipated to change.
  • Management: What are the best mechanisms to ensure compliance? What would be the best metrics of success? What are the best examples of usability in the private sector (both domestic and international)? Should those who access papers be given the opportunity to comment or provide feedback?

A wrap up of phase one is posted here. It provides an interesting overview of how the opportunities presented by Open Access are seen by different research communities.