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United States

Public Access to Federally Funded Research (US0107)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Provide Public Access to Federally Funded Research Primarily through the National Science and Technology Council (Council), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates United States efforts to make the results of Federally funded scientific research more accessible and useful to the public, industry, and the scientific community. In the Council’s Subcommittee on Open Science, thirty-two United States agency funders collaborate to improve the preservation, discoverability, accessibility, and usability of Federally funded scientific research, with the aims of bolstering the reliability of that research, accelerating scientific discovery, stimulating innovation, enhancing economic growth and job creation. In 2018, the Subcommittee on Open Science was re-chartered to promote open science principles across the Federal Government and increase public access to Federally-funded research results. The Subcommittee’s priorities include: (1) Facilitating coordination across Federal Government agencies on open science efforts; (2) Developing appropriate incentives to encourage researchers to adopt open science principles; (3) Streamlining and synchronizing agency and researcher data management practices for maximum utility to the public; (4) Collaborating with academia, researcher communities, and industry toward the development of research data standards that further open science. As part of the Subcommittee’s objectives, it will develop a report that provides recommendations for improvements to existing Federal open access policies and continued collaboration between agencies on achieving open access objectives.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Provide Public Access to Federally-Funded Research

Main Objective

“Develop a report that provides recommendations for improvements to existing Federal open access policies and continued collaboration between agencies on achieving open access objectives.”

Milestones

None provided.

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see the United States’ action plan at: https://open.usa.gov/assets/files/NAP4-fourth-open-government-national-action-plan.pdf.

IRM Design Report Assessment

Verifiable:

Yes

Relevant:

Yes

Access to information

Potential impact:

Minor

Commitment analysis

This commitment directs the U.S. National Science and Technology Council (Office of Science and Technology Policy) to broaden public access to federally-funded research, specifically by having the Sub-Committee on Open Science produce a report on “recommendations for improvements to existing Federal open access policies and continued collaboration between agencies on achieving open access objectives.”

The commitment follows directly from Commitment 20 of the U.S.’ third NAP on “Open Science,” of which the first milestone was “increase public access to results of federally-funded scientific research,” led by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy. [35] More specifically, that milestone aimed to ensure that “all Federal agencies that spend more than $100 million per year on research and development finalize plans and implement policies and programs to make scientific publications and digital data resulting from Federally funded research accessible to and usable by scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, students, and the general public.” [36] By the end of the reporting cycle for NAP3, all 16 federal agencies subject to the commitment had released public access plans, 11 of 16 agencies had implemented data management plans, and digital repositories for federally-funded research existed for all agencies with active public access plans. The report envisioned under this commitment will provide recommendations for further improvements to these efforts.

The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information by nature of its emphasis on making federally-funded research available to the public.

The magnitude of federally-funded research is substantial. The National Science Foundation reports that federal research and development obligations reached roughly $129.5 billion in fiscal year 2018, an increase of 8.8% over the previous fiscal year, [37] and far exceeding an increase of 2.7% from FY2016−2017. Preliminary data for FY2019 puts the figure at 9.6% relative to FY18, marking a third consecutive year-on-year increase. [38]

However, the IRM researcher assesses the commitment as having a minor potential impact. This is particularly evident when its limited output of a single recommendations report is evaluated against the more substantial work of the previous action plan, which developed and implemented policies facilitating open access to federally-funded research.

[35] IRM, “Open Science Through Open Data (US0072)” (OGP, accessed 9 Mar. 2020), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/members/united-states/commitments/US0072/. Those efforts in turn stemmed from the 2013 memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research. Office of Science and Technology Policy, “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” (White House, 22 Feb. 2013), https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ostp_public_access_memo_2013.pdf.
[36] Id.
[37] Christopher Pece, “Federal R&D Obligations Increase 8.8% in FY 2018; Preliminary FY 2019 R&D Obligations Increase 9.3% Over FY 2018” (National Science Foundation, 30 Jan. 2020), https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2020/nsf20308/.
[38] Id.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership