Growing momentum for OER

This a128px-Neon_Open_Sign (1)nnouncement was posted yesterday by Nicole Allen of SPARC:

Today the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the hiring of the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand Open Educational Resources (OER) in K-12 schools. This announcement marks a critical step for ED and the Obama Administration toward leveraging OER as a solution at a time when improving educational access, opportunity and affordability is at the forefront of the nation’s mind.

This exciting announcement is part of the growing momentum within the Obama Administration to support OER and public access to publicly funded resources. Last month SPARC and 100 other organizations signed a letter calling on the White House to ensure that educational materials created with federal funds are released to the public as OER.

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Agency responses to OSTP

Figshare has released this helpful chart of Federal agency responses to the OSTP request for policies on sharing of funded research outputs.


Valen, Dan; Blanchat, Kelly (2015): Overview of OSTP Responses. figshare. Retrieved 15:48, May 05, 2015 (GMT)

This chart is based on a crowd-sourced open Google Spreadsheet that consolidates guidelines from federal agencies as a result of the Whitehouse’s Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) 2013 statement. The chart is an overview of each agency’s compliance with policies that are intended to “[open] goverment data resources” by working towards public access for all research outputs supported by federal funding (Process Toward Opening Data Government Resources. The White House, 16 Aug. 2013. Web.).

Gates Foundation adopts OA Policy


_bill_melinda_gates_foundation_logo From Science Insider:

Breaking new ground for the open-access movement, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of global health research, plans to require that the researchers it funds publish only in immediate open-access journals. 

The policy doesn’t kick in until January 2017; until then, grantees can publish in subscription-based journals as long as their paper is freely available within 12 months. But after that, the journal must be open access, meaning papers are free for anyone to read immediately upon publication. Articles must also be published with a license that allows anyone to freely reuse and distribute the material. And the underlying data must be freely available.

The Gates Foundation will also pay the author fees charged by many open-access journals.

DOE plan for OA disappoints


The Department of Energy has been the first Federal agency to respond publicly to the White House OSTP requirement that agencies develop plans for open access to articles resulting from federally funded research. Unfortunately the plan is not as robust as open access advocates would like; it does not specify reuse rights needed for maximum downstream uses of content.

This post from the Nature newsblog summarizes the issues.

Michael Eisen finds it “completely unacceptable”.

Open Access To Research: An Ideal Complicated By Reality

The article “Open Access To Research: An Ideal Complicated By Reality” appeared in Forbes on 29th July. Though the authors support open access and the new Obama-administration policy, details of which are to be announced in August, they point out that some kinds of research conducted at university, “primarily government-funded classified research and some industry-sponsored research—do not always appear in scientific publications and are sometimes at odds with the ideal of transparency and open communication of knowledge”.