The Federal Government May Change the Way Scientific Research is Accessed

A rumor has been floating around that the United States government may change the way scientific research is viewed by the public and institutions. The current administration is working on an executive order that would make publicly funded science available for free immediately. The issue has bipartisan support from open-access advocates as well as the many industries that use federal research to conduct business.

Currently, 44% of basic research is funded by the federal government. Most of that research is only viewable by paying private publishing companies to see the content. An Obama rule in 2013 mandated that federally funded research become available to the public after one year of publication. Critics say that this rule doesn’t go far enough to provide access.

The Association of American Publishers sent a letter signed by 135 publishers in protest of the possible changes. The move would be a win for the open-access movement and a loss for publishing companies that operate by charging taxpayers and institutions to view research that their tax dollars already paid for to be conducted.