PLOS Applauds Congress for Action on Open Access

PLOS is pleased to announce important progress in making taxpayer-funded research freely available to the public. The bill requires federal agencies under the Education, Labor and Health and Human Services portion of the bill with research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to articles on federally funded research no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

“PLOS would like to thank the White House, Senators Tom Harkin, John Cornyn and Ron Wyden, and Representatives Mike Doyle, Zoe Lofgren and Kevin Yoder for their strong leadership on this bill,” said Elizabeth Marincola, Chief Executive Officer for PLOS. “This is yet another sign that Open Access is gaining momentum. PLOS will stand alongside any organization or initiative that attempts to eliminate unnecessary barriers to the immediate availability, access and use of research and looks forward to a fully Open Access future.”

Here are some key points from the bill:

  • The Omnibus language codifies a section of the White House Directive requirements into law for the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Department of Education, among other smaller agencies.
  • The additional agencies covered would ensure that more than half of the $60 billion annual US investment in taxpayer funded research is now free to read.
  • Report language was also included throughout the bill directing agencies and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to keep moving on the Directive policies, including the US Departments of Agriculture, Interior, National Science Foundation and Commerce.

Congress today passed the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and President Barack Obama is expected to sign the law in the coming days.

Despite this progress, there is more work to be done. PLOS is a strong supporter of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) act. It is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that builds upon the success of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) public access policy model. FASTR includes stronger Open Access language including requiring that articles are:

  •  Available no later than six months after publication;
  • Available through a central repository similar to the NIH’s highly successful PubMed Central; and
  • Provided in formats and under terms that ensure researchers have the ability to freely apply cutting-edge analysis tools and technologies to the full collection of digital articles resulting from public funding.


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  1. […] this year, including advocacy in DC that resulted in the OSTP Directive, FASTR, and the Omnibus Spending Bill’s open access provisions, could conceivably constitute a tipping point for OA in the States; the scholarly enterprise is […]