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Impact of the 2022 OSTP memo: A bibliometric analysis of US federally funded publications, 2017–2021
On August 25, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memo (“Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” or the “Nelson Memo” after OSTP director Alondra Nelson *) regarding public access to scientific research. This updated guidance eliminated the 12-month embargo period on publications arising from U.S. federal funding that had been allowed from a previous 2013 OSTP memo (citation: Holdren, J. (2013). Increasing access to the results of federally funded scientific research (notice the obamawhitehouse.archives.gov url 😉 ).
Using the Nelson memo as a jumping off place, Eric Schares, the Engineering & Collection Analysis Librarian at Iowa State University, did some very interesting analysis on the characteristics of US federally funded research for the period 2017 – 2021. He also helpfully made interactive versions of the graphs available at https://ostp.lib.iastate.edu/. This article was published open access, so it should be freely available at https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00237.
Citation: Eric Schares; Impact of the 2022 OSTP memo: A bibliometric analysis of US federally funded publications, 2017–2021. Quantitative Science Studies 2023; 4 (1): 1–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00237
This study seeks to more deeply investigate the characteristics of U.S. federally funded research over a 5-year period from 2017–2021 to better understand the updated guidance’s impact. It uses a manually created custom filter in the Dimensions database to return only publications that arise from U.S. federal funding. Results show that an average of 265,000 articles were published each year that acknowledge US federal funding agencies, and these research outputs are further examined by publisher, journal title, institutions, and Open Access status. Interactive versions of the graphs are available at https://ostp.lib.iastate.edu/.
*Here is the archived link to the Nelson memo archived in the wayback machine because the base domain will change from whitehouse.gov to bidenwhitehouse.archives.gov at the end of the Biden administration.
This is certainly good news! The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) yesterday released guidance for federal agencies to “ensure free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research.” This builds on the 2013 Obama administration’s Memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research which directed all federal departments and agencies with more than $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of federally funded research, with specific focus on access to scholarly publications and digital data resulting from such research. This new policy directs agencies to “update their public access policies as soon as possible, and no later than December 31, 2025.”
Of course, from FGI’s perspective, a key piece of making federally funded research open access is the curation, preservation and ongoing access to those publications. We wonder how this will impact the Government Publishing Office (GPO) in its quest to build the “National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information.”
Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) updated U.S. policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost. In a memorandum to federal departments and agencies, Dr. Alondra Nelson, the head of OSTP, delivered guidance for agencies to update their public access policies as soon as possible to make publications and research funded by taxpayers publicly accessible, without an embargo or cost. All agencies will fully implement updated policies, including ending the optional 12-month embargo, no later than December 31, 2025.
This policy will likely yield significant benefits on a number of key priorities for the American people, from environmental justice to cancer breakthroughs, and from game-changing clean energy technologies to protecting civil liberties in an automated world.
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.
I was honored to be part of a program at American Library Association‘s 2015 annual conference (hosted in my home town of SF!) set up by the Federal & Armed Forces Libraries Round Table (FAFLRT). The program, “Open Government: Current Trends and Practices Concerning FOIA, Open Access, and Other Post-Wiki-Leaks Issues” featured Anneliese Taylor, Assistant Director of Scholarly Communications & Collections at UCSF, who gave an in-depth and very interesting presentation on open access and the OSTP directive on “Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research”. Thanks to Anneliese, I *finally* found a list of all of the agencies covered under the policy on one handy google spreadsheet “A table summarizing the Federal public access policies resulting from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum of February 2013”! [UPDATE August 17, 2015: The recorded presentation is now available from ALA!]
My talk was titled “Blind Spots and Broken Links: Access to Government Information.” Unfortunately, the speaker for the FOIA portion had to cancel at the last minute, so I edited my original talk on access trends — and breakdown points — to federal publications to include a bit on FOIA. I really didn’t do FOIA the justice it deserved, but I think the panel turned out well because we had plenty of time for questions and discussion. Please see the slides and notes for my presentation below. There’s also a PDF available of both the slides and notes.
Today, the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a directive to federal agencies that own or support scientific collections calling for improved management and access to these collections. Here’s the directive text (PDF).
Scientific collections are assemblies of physical objects that are valuable for research and education—including drilling cores from the ocean floor and glaciers, seeds, space rocks, cells, mineral samples, fossils, and more. Federal agencies develop and maintain scientific collections as records of our past and investments in our future.
These collections are public assets. They play an important role in promoting public health and safety, homeland security, trade, and economic development, medical research, resource management, education, and environmental monitoring.
They are studied across diverse fields of research and are used and re-used to validate and extend past research results as new analytical techniques develop. For the American public, students, and teachers, they are also treasure troves of information ripe for exploration and learning.
And there is no better time to highlight this important new policy than Sunshine Week – an annual celebration of transparency and public participation in government.
The memorandum released today fulfills the requirements of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that called on OSTP to develop “policies for the management and use of Federal scientific collections to improve the quality, organization, access, including online access, and long-term preservation of such collections for the benefit of the scientific enterprise.”
A short quote from the directive that provides some sense of the scope:
Therefore, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hereby directs each Federal agency that owns, maintains, or otherwise financially supports permanent scientific collections to develop a draft scientific-collections management and access policy within six months. Agencies should collaborate through the IWGSC [the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections] while developing these draft policies to reduce redundancy and identify opportunities for common requirements and standards. The end goal will be a systematic improvement of the development, management, accessibility, and preservation of scientific collections owned and/or funded by Federal agencies.
The requirements below are intended to apply to institutional scientific collections owned, maintained, or financially supported by the U.S. Government. This policy applies to scientific collections, known in some disciplines as institutional collections, permanent collections, archival collections, museum collections, or voucher collections, which are assets with long-term scientific value. Materials assembled specifically for short-term use, sometimes referred to as “project collections”, and not intended for long-term preservation, do not fall under this policy, but such collections should be reviewed periodically and carefully to ensure that they should not be considered institutional collections.