Open Access and those Omnibus Bills

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So last week, the Senate approved a Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund the government to October, and maybe that should make me happy enough, given how difficult it seems to have the government “do” anything these days.  But what you may not have known is that within this bill, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services is requiring that publications resulting from these agencies federal funds need to be made available online to the public no later than one year after its release in a peer-reviewed journal.  Similar to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy (NIHPAP), this act is a huge step in making information more available to the public.  NIHPAP was included in a December 2007 Omnibus bill and has made an incredible impact on making the full-text articles of NIH funded research available to the public.  Have you checked out PubMed Central recently?  While the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act does not clearly state where these articles should be made available, researchers who use federal funds from these agencies should talk with their librarians in order to ensure that they are complying with these new mandates.

It’s a great time to be a part of the Open Access Movement as we have seen really great strides in the past year toward information being available equitably.   Last year, we saw the introduction of the  Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) bill, the OSTP Directive, and the Public Access to Public Science (PAPS) bill.  And I know these are not “technically” open access, but the fact that information is being required to be made available is still a great thing.

(In case you missed it, we had some great events for Open Access Week 2013 in October.  Here is the link to our closing keynote presentation, Redefining Impact, from Michael Buschman of Plum Analytics.)

So, I can honestly say that I’m happy with the government’s ability to “do” this past week.  I really hope this is a sign of things to come rather than a glitch.

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