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Office of the Vice President for Research

New OSTP Memo Ensures Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research

On Thursday, August 25, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued an update to the 2013 Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research (pdf) memorandum. The new memo, Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research (pdf), removes the 12-month embargo on federally funded research to allow for its immediate, free and public release. For faculty, this means your data and research will be immediately and publicly available once it is published.

Also included in the memo is policy guidance for federal agencies to update their public access policies as soon as possible, with a final deadline of Wednesday, December 31, 2025. The guidelines outlined in the memo will help agencies establish transparent procedures and ensure equitable delivery of all federally funded research and data.

Greatly inspired by lessons learned during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new guidelines seek to improve collaboration among researchers across the country and the world, encouraging breakthroughs in research and improving public welfare. These guidelines will also make it so taxpayers see the immediate results of their investments in research and scientific discovery.

The OSTP memo also sets deadlines for all federal agencies with research and development (R&D) expenditures to develop or update public access plans. For federal agencies with more than $100 million in annual R&D expenditures, the deadline is 180 days after the date of the memo. For federal agencies with $100 million or less in annual R&D expenditures, the deadline is 360 days after the date of the memo. The additional time accounts for federal agencies who were not subject to the 2013 memorandum.

Along with removing the 12-month embargo period on federally funded research, the memo also establishes the requirement for federal agencies to take actions to ensure continued scientific and research integrity to improve public trust in federally funded science.

Although the deadlines for implementing these new or updated policies are still a few years away, this memo is a step forward in improving transparency in research for both the public and researchers. It will not only improve research but will make it more equitable as well, an appropriate measure as we progress further into the 21st-century.

19 September 2022

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