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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

NASA rolls out PubSpace, public portal for NASA-funded research

The 2013 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research,” is really starting to bare fruit. NASA just announced the creation of PubSpace — which will go hand in hand with the NASA Data Portal — to provide a public access portal to NASA-funded research AND the underlying data.

There are 2 things to note: 1) NASA is using PubMedCentral (PMC) as its repository, along with other federal agencies like National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST), and the Veterans Administration (VA); and 2) as the NASA press release notes, there will be a deficit embargo period placed on NASA funded publications as researchers will have 1 year to deposit articles and data into PubSpace.

This is a very good step in the right Open Access direction for free access to federally funded research and data!

Public access to NASA-funded research data now is just a click away, with the launch of a new agency public access portal. The creation of the NASA-Funded Research Results portal on NASA.gov reflects the agency’s ongoing commitment to providing broad public access to science data.

“At NASA, we are celebrating this opportunity to extend access to our extensive portfolio of scientific and technical publications,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman. “Through open access and innovation we invite the global community to join us in exploring Earth, air and space.”

NASA now requires articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings be publicly accessible via the agency’s PubSpace.

PubSpace is an archive of original science journal articles produced by NASA-funded research and available online without a fee. The data will be available for download, reading and analysis within one year of publication.

via NASA Unveils New Public Web Portal for Research Results | NASA.

Open CRS Bill Introduced In House and Senate

This is YUGE! The “Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016” was introduced in both the House and the Senate, cosponsored by Senators McCain and Leahy and Representatives Lance and Quigley. 40 organizations — including FGI and Stanford University libraries (where I work)! — signed a letter in support of the legislation, nicknamed the OpenCRS Act. Read Senator Leahy’s press release.

Today Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced in the House and Senate legislation directing the online publication of Congressional Research Service reports that are available for general congressional access. A coalition of 40 civil society and grassroots organizations, libraries, trade associations, think tanks, and businesses from across the political spectrum released this statement in support of the legislation:

We, the undersigned organizations, endorse the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016. The legislation provides the public timely, comprehensive, free access to Congressional Research Service reports.

We commend Sens. John McCain and Patrick Leahy and Reps. Leonard Lance and Mike Quigley for their tireless efforts to ensure equitable access for all Americans to these documents, which provide insight into the important issues before Congress and are paid for by taxpayers.

We urge the Senate’s Committee on Rules and Administration and the House of Representative’s Committee on House Administration to speedily approve the legislation.

via Open CRS Bill Introduced In House and Senate — Demand Progress — Medium.

Hot off the presses: “Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits”

Government information specialists know the value of the information that government agencies gather, create, assemble, and distribute, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a book that documents that value and provides examples of how that information is used? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a book that doesn’t just list useful databases, but describes the missions and histories of the agencies that produce the information?

Back in 2013, Dr. Miriam Drake, longtime director and dean of libraries at Georgia Institute of Technology, wanted to create such a book: A book about the value of public information and how the communities that libraries serve actually use that information. The result is this new book that we think deserves the attention of practicing government information professionals and teachers:

Government documents librarians know and use FDsys (and now govinfo), and USA.gov, and the Catalog of Government Publications and specialty web sites like the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder and the Bureau of Economic Analysis and The National Archives and Congress, and GPO’s federated search engine metalib, and probably at least a few more. But after the basics, it is hard to keep track of the wealth of information available and how to find it. You might know, for example, that there are 123 U.S. federal government agencies that collect and distribute important statistical data, but how do you find it and which agency is best for which statistic? Have you ever used the Library of Congress’s Performing Arts Encyclopedia, or think about the non-government, public knowledge in the LoC, such as historic newspapers online? How many of the Databases, Resources & APIs at the National Library of Medicine have you explored? You’ve used USA.gov, but have you tried Science.gov or WorldWideScience.org? Are you helping your community find datasets, but you haven’t used OSTI data explorer?

And, if you have used some of those, but haven’t had time to understand the subtle differences between databases or agencies (e.g., do you know when to use NASA Technical Reports Server and when to use The National Technical Information Service?), you will find this book useful. This book will be useful for those who answer reference questions and work with communities who need information in almost any discipline. It gives the historical context of the development of the vast government information infrastructure and describes how agencies are changing rapidly and planning for the future. If you are a new or “accidental” government information librarian, or if you teach government documents, this book is for you.

And, yes, we wrote a chapter of this book, but we’d be praising its utility even if we were not part of it. The publisher has kindly allowed us to offer you a PDF copy of the chapter we wrote for this book.

Every chapter is different and every chapter is worthwhile. Here is a complete list of the chapters and authors.

Table of Contents

  • The Relationship Between Citizen Information Literacy and Public Information Use. Forest “Woody” Horton Jr.
  • Beyond LMGTFY: Access to Government Information in a Networked World. James A. Jacobs, University of California-San Diego Library, and James R. Jacobs, Stanford University Libraries.
  • Government Resources in the Classroom. Susanne Caro, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana.
  • The U.S. Government Publishing Office. Miriam A. Drake and Donald T. Hawkins.
  • The Library of Congress. Miriam A. Drake.
  • The National Library of Medicine. Katherine B. Majewski, MEDLARS Management Section, and Wanda Whitney, Reference and Web Services Section, National Library of Medicine.
  • The Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Part 1: Extending the Reach and Impact of DOE Research Results. Brian A. Hitson and Peter M. Lincoln, Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
  • The Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Part 2: Bringing the World’s Research to DOE. Brian A. Hitson and Peter M. Lincoln, Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
  • NASA’s Scientific and Technical Information for a Changing World. Lynn Heimerl, NASA STI Program.
  • The National Technical Information Service: Public Access as a Driver of Change. Gail Hodge, Ha (Information International Associates).
  • Federal Statistics Past and Present. Mark Anderson, Michener Library, University of Northern Colorado.
  • Agricultural Information and the National Agricultural Library. Marianne Stowell Bracke, Purdue University Libraries.
  • Hidden Government Information. Miriam A. Drake.
  • The Future Is Open. Barbie E. Keiser, Barbie E. Keiser, Inc.

James A. Jacobs
James R. Jacobs

USGS releases plan to increase public access to scientific research

This is welcome news indeed! According to a press release yesterday, the US Geological Service (USGS) has just released its plan “Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data.” The USGS open access plan is in response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)’s 2013 directive on open access to scientific research (unfortunately, the release of the USGS plan was too late to be listed on OSTP’s January 29, 2016 memo to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees which listed the 11 agencies — plus 5 Dept of Health and Human Services sub-agencies! — which have published open access plans.)

The plan stipulates that, beginning October 1, the USGS will require that any research it funds be released from the publisher and available free to the public no later than 12 months after initial publication. More importantly, USGS will also require that data used to support the findings be available free to the public when the associated study is published.

Specifically, this plan requires that an electronic copy of either the accepted manuscript or the final publication of record is available through the USGS Publications Warehouse. Digital data will be available in machine readable form from the USGS Science Data Catalog. The plan will require the inclusion of data management plans in all new research proposals and grants.

[HT Sabrina Pacifici @ beSpacific!]

Making Federally Funded Educational Materials Open Access

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is considering a rule change that would make the educational resources the Department funds a lot more accessible to educators and students—not just in the U.S., but around the world.

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