The Office of Science and Technology Policy — OSTP has recently launched a public forum to discuss options for improving public access to results of federally funded research.
Here is an excerpt from the announcement:
The Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and the White House Open Government Initiative is launching a “Public Access Policy Forum” to invite public participation in thinking through what the Federal government’s policy should be with regard to public access to published federally-funded research results. To that end, OSTP will conduct an interactive, online discussion beginning Thursday, December 10. We will focus on three major areas of interest: Implementation, Features, and Management.
In the implementation section we read:
One of our nation’s most important assets is the trove of data produced by federally funded scientists and published in scholarly journals. The question that this Forum will address is: To what extent and under what circumstances should such research articles—funded by taxpayers but with value added by scholarly publishers—be made freely available on the Internet?
Many interesting comments have been made on this subject encouraging open access to the published papers as well as any supporting data and code.
Here are some short excerpts from the numerous comments:
[…] It is imperative to provide public access to tax-payer funded scientific output, not only the final published paper but also the supporting data and code necessary for the reproducibility and skepticism fundamental to scientific communication and progress.
[…] It is most feasible to open access to the data after the data-taking has completed, the data are understood, and a simple format can be provided to the public.
[…] Any embargo should be as short as possible (preferably none!), but all articles must be deposited in an institutional repository right away, upon date of acceptance, not just after the embargo elapses: there will be 2 kinds of OA documents in the archive: immediate OA (at least 63% of journals endorse immediate OA) and delayed OA (embargoed ).
[…] What version of the paper should be made public under a public access policy (e.g., the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript or the final published version)?
Both— the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript prior to publication and the final published version after publication. The heart of science is the testability of hypothesis. To this end all raw data should be included with the manuscript. The goals of open government should support the objective of keeping the science honest and testable.
[…] Some suggest that every portion of a research effort should be made public— all collected or raw data, notebooks, calculations, etc. There is a case to be made for publishing data sets. However, requiring everything recorded during a research effort be prepared for public access may have the perverse effect of slowing the publication process, or discouraging publication of some research all together. Making the published article accessible is a more reasonable and achievable first goal, followed by publishing pertinent datasets when it is decided how best to do so.
Many other interesting suggestions can be found on the OSTP blog.