NSF Plans to Expand Access to Publicily Funded Research
The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with federal partners, has announced its commitment to expand public access to the results of its funded research. Public access is intended to accelerate the dissemination of fundamental research results that will advance the frontiers of knowledge and help ensure the nation’s future prosperity.
“Scientific progress depends on the responsible communication of research findings, and NSF has been engaged in efforts to expand public access for several years,” said NSF Director Subra Suresh. “Full public access will require changes in policies, procedures and practices from the many stakeholders who participate in NSF’s broad research portfolio spanning all scientific and engineering disciplines. We stand with our federal science colleagues, as well as our non-governmental partners, to collaborate in accomplishing this transition on behalf of science and our nation’s future.”
“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,” said White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John P. Holdren. “Policies that mobilize these intellectual assets for re-use through broader access can accelerate scientific breakthroughs, increase innovation, and promote economic growth.”
“The National Science Board, as the policy making body for the National Science Foundation, endorses the agency’s commitment to public access and looks forward to working with its colleagues and stakeholder communities to support and broaden the availability of federally-funded research data and results,” said National Science Board (NSB) Chairman Dan Arvizu. “The NSB understands the importance to the American people that public access brings to the taxpayer and the scholarly community, and that progress in science accelerates when researchers share and build on each other’s results.”
“Innovation in our country is driven by scientific discovery,” said Under Secretary for Standards and Technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Pat Gallagher. “By making federal scientific research more broadly available we will help stimulate future innovation and economic growth.”
With the breadth of NSF and other federal support across the scientific community, the implementation details for public access could vary by discipline, and new business models for universities, libraries, publishers, and scholarly and professional societies could emerge. Those details will emerge as NSF consults with its stakeholders and with other government agencies, and as it develops its plans. NSF has already laid out a tentative timeline for consultation, planning, systems development, and changes to its policies, which will be fine-tuned over the coming months.
“We expect our approach to evolve over time,” said Suresh. “This transition will result in innovative, cost-effective and sustainable approaches. With science becoming an increasingly global enterprise, we will also work with international science funding agencies through forums such as the Global Research Council to enable public access across borders.”