Welcome back to our three part series on the public access initiatives of 2013: FASTR, PAPS, and the OSTP directive. Part 1 provides an introduction to the three initiatives, and Part 2 explores their copyright implications and potential effects on researchers and libraries. Overall, these initiatives appear quite attractive for proponents of public access, but how might they work in practice? This final segment will evaluate the two most prominent proposals from the publishing and library communities on how federal policies might be applied.

Proposed Strategies for Implementation

Keep the following points in mind while we consider how the OSTP directive (and FASTR and PAPS, if passed) might be applied in the field:

  • FASTR, PAPS, and the OSTP directive all lean towards green open access by requesting deposit of the accepted, peer-reviewed version of an article
  • Researchers would likely be the ones actually depositing papers in the system, unless publishers entered into an agreement with authors and funding agencies to deposit on their behalf
  • Individual funding agencies are ultimately responsible to develop and/or designate a suitable repository for funded articles which satisfies the mandated criteria for accessibility, preservation, and interoperability with computational analysis

The NIH model with PubMed Central is frequently mentioned in discussions regarding next steps and agency compliance. PubMed Central is a good example of a successful public access repository due to its proven track record for success, but this strategy is just one of several options. Federal agencies are not required to develop their own repositories in response to FASTR, PAPS, or the OSTP directive. Agencies could designate existing institutional systems or another third party system as suitable repositories in lieu of building something in house. Thus far, two such models have garnered significant attention: CHORUS and SHARE.

Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States (CHORUS)

See the June 5, 2013 proposal here and the August 30, 2013 proof of concept here.

  • Developed by the Association of American Publishers
  • Funded research articles would remain on publishers’ existing platforms with CrossRef used to link between publishing platforms
  • Articles would be available for public access following an embargo period determined by funding agency and/or subject discipline
  • Publishers favor CHORUS as it allows them to retain and monitor site traffic

Proponents contend that CHORUS would fulfill public access requirements with the fewest changes or expenditures on the part of research institutions or the federal government because it makes use of existing, privately funded systems. Secondly, CHORUS streamlines article handling; CrossRef would link back to original items on the publishers’ websites rather than requiring deposit in an outside repository. This would allow publishers to fulfill many of the researchers’ compliance requirements on their behalf. The plan also incorporates FundRef: an identification service that tracks article funding. Early critics noted that CHORUS did not mention text or data mining, however the proof of concept released August 30, 2013 now proposes text and data mining through CrossRef’s Prospect service, which could also include a license registry and click-through license agreements as needed.

Skeptics, however, perceive a conflict of interest in this arrangement and suggest that publishers have little incentive to develop a robust, user-friendly system; for instance, the system would not generate revenue for publishers and could detract from pay-per-view revenue streams. Secondly, funding agencies and researchers are the ones bound to comply with federal public access policies—not publishers—and CHROUS takes the means to comply out of their hands. Limited scope is another issue: CHORUS would only support public access for articles under the umbrella of participating publishers with alternate solutions required for other publishers. Lastly, detractors believe the cost-savings presented by CHORUS as one of its greatest advantages may not be so significant; they argue that alternatives, such as the NIH model, don’t actually cost that much to implement and suggest that publishers could pass on the costs of CHORUS by raising subscription and pay-per-view prices.

Find more information on CHORUS here:

Shared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE)              

See the proposal here.

  • Developed by library associations: Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
  • Recommends that research universities participate in a cross-institutional repository
  • Universities’ existing repositories could be integrated or linked into the system assuming that participating institutions adopt a common metadata scheme

SHARE supporters favor the use of existing institutional repositories to fulfill public access policies. Such institutions possess a strong interest in facilitating discovery and would therefore be motivated to develop a flexible, user-friendly system. Placing development and oversight in the hands of those closest to the end users provides greater opportunities and incentives to build in desired functionality. Secondly, a cross-institutional repository would be able to accommodate all federally funded research as organizations without their own repository would be able to designate a participating repository to hold their funded research. SHARE proposes roll-out in four phases with the system operational for article deposit and access following Phase I. The plan also contains provisions for preservation, text mining, data sharing, semantic data, and APIs. Proponents note that many suitable institutional repositories and relevant infrastructure (e.g. Digital Preservation Network) already exist.

Critics of SHARE note that the system would require significant investment from research institutions to develop and maintain. Limited resources in terms of staffing, funding, and software currently in use could severely undermine libraries’ ability to get SHARE up and running in the proposed time frame of 12-18 months for Phase I.

Find more information on SHARE here:

While the fates of PAPS and FASTR are yet to be determined, the OSTP directive has been in effect since February. If funding agencies adhered to the directive’s timeline, they should already have submitted drafts of their policies to the OSTP. In the future, we can expect to see negotiations with stakeholders (especially publishers and libraries) regarding the terms of the final policies and the selection of suitable repositories.

This concludes our series on pending public access policies. Still have questions? Visit the Copyright Resources Center or email us at libcopyright@osu.edu for more information.


By Jessica Meindertsma, Rights Management Specialist at the Copyright Resources Center at OSU Libraries