Last week, my personal frustration with finding sources lead to an anger-filled article on open access journals and the apparent lack of them. The President, who most likely reads every article on Wondergressive, has been forced to tell somebody else to act. In response to a whitehouse.gov petition regarding increasing public access to research, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), John P. Holdren, has issued a memorandum to any federal agency making more than $100 million dollars.
The logic behind enhanced public access is plain. We know that scientific research supported by the Federal Government spurs scientific breakthroughs and economic advances when research results are made available to innovators. Policies that mobilize these intellectual assets for re-use through broader access can accelerate scientific breakthroughs, increase innovation, and promote economic growth. That’s why the Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that the results of federally-funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community.
Federal agencies have been given one year to organize all of their data and provide an easy way for public researchers to access. From the memo:
To the extent feasible and consistent with law; agency mission; resource constraints; U.S.
national, homeland, and economic security; and the objectives listed below, the results of
unclassified research that are published in peer-reviewed publications directly arising from
Federal funding should be stored for long-term preservation and publicly accessible to search,
retrieve, and analyze in ways that maximize the impact and accountability of the Federal
So providing that Homeland Security or the Department of Defense does not stamp “Plebeians Should Not Read” in dark red and all of the information is in scientific journal format, we should expect to see a lot more results from our dear Aunt Samantha. The memo requires agencies to make archives readily available as well. Supposing that our government steers clear of the 1984’s Department of Truth, this new policy might actually be a good thing.
But wait, $100 million dollars is a heck of a lot of money? What about the agencies that don’t meet this mark? This Federal R&D Budget Request outlines how much money is allocated to different agencies. The chart, picture below, tells us plainly that almost all of the federal funding goes to agencies receiving more than the Doctor Evil-inspired mark. You’ll probably also notice that the DoD research request accounts for just under half of the total budget with a whopping $71 Billion.
Besides not being able to properly understand the vast amount of money, It’s hard to understand why we spend so much of it on defense. I mean, why are we being so defensive? We don’t need to yell. It doesn’t take somebody who sees octarine to realize that there might be a problem with that. As this article is about Open Access Journals, I will stay this point until a later date.
It should come as no surprise then that the Department of Health and Human Services has been actively sharing their findings for a couple of years now. They are so healthy and fresh over there and all they want to do is take care of us. Well good for them. Even bureaucrats can have a heart, or at least know where to find one in a pinch.