New taxpayer-funded research must be made available to the public free of charge within a year of its publication, the Obama administration said Friday.
The president's Office of Science and Technology Policy told federal agencies to work on plans to release federally funded studies to the public. The policy applies to future unclassified research by agencies with research budgets of $100 million or more.
"Americans should have easy access to the results of research they help support," said John Holdren, the director of OSTP, in a response to a petition urging the public release of taxpayer-funded studies.
Advocates of open access to research hailed the decision.
The Association of American Publishers, which has strongly opposed other efforts to make free the work its members publish and charge for, called the White House directive "reasonable."
The United States planned to spend about $66 billion on nondefense research and development in the 2012 budget year, according to the Congressional Research Service. Nearly half of that is research funded by the National Institutes of Health, which is already making public the results of the research it funds.
The NIH's openness is now the default across the federal government, said Heather Joseph, the executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC, a group that advocates open access to government-funded research. SPARC's members include research libraries that pay for costly access to academic journals.