Tag: public access policies

Public Access Policies (Part 3): Proposed strategies for implementation

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

Public Access Policies (Part 2): Copyright implications and impact on researchers and libraries

Welcome back to our series on current public access initiatives. If you’re just joining us, consider clicking over to Part 1 for an introduction to the three initiatives under discussion:

  • Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR)
  • Public Access to Public Science Act (PAPS)
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Directive

In this installment, we will take a look at what these initiatives have to say about copyright, and we will also consider how the proposed policies could affect researchers and libraries.

Copyright Implications

As written, the OSTP directive, FASTR, and PAPS would have little impact on copyright issues. None of the proposals amend existing copyright or patent law, and all require federal agencies to develop their public access policies in accordance with existing copyright law. However, only FASTR actually advises agencies on how to avoid copyright infringement while the OSTP and PAPS are silent on the matter. FASTR instructs that agencies “shall…make effective use of any law or guidance relating to the creation and reservation of a Government license that provides for the reproduction, publication, release, or other uses of a final manuscript for Federal purposes” (section 4.c.3). This essentially suggests a model like the one in place for NIH and PubMed Central. Funding agencies would possess a non-exclusive license to store and distribute funded manuscripts through designated repositories. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) suggests in its FAQ for FASTR that this could ultimately prompt adjustments in the publishing agreements between researchers and publishers so that exclusive rights are not transferred to the publisher, but notes that “the government’s license precedes any such copyright transfer and so would override it.”

Impact on Researchers and Libraries

This collection of public access proposals is good news for the research community. Public access policies will facilitate knowledge sharing, new research, and preservation of federally funded research. The proposals are also forward thinking, with provisions for system functionality including text or data mining and other computational analysis. Outside of generating opportunities for conducting new research, the effect on researchers is likely to be fairly minimal: researchers would need to deposit the accepted version of their article in a designated repository, but the time investment is expected to be very minor. Each proposal requests that federal agencies coordinate their policies, making it easier for researchers who receive funding from multiple sources to comply.  As mentioned previously, the OSTP directive is the only initiative to suggest public access to data. This could precipitate a philosophical shift for disciplines that are unaccustomed to sharing data if federal agencies developed policies which required public access to data from funded studies.

So where do the libraries come in? Librarians are well-positioned to liaise with researchers, administrators, and IT departments within their institution regarding public access and data-sharing requirements of new legislation. Secondly, federal agencies could identify institutional repositories as the destination for federally funded research. Libraries would feel the greatest impact should the agencies go this route.  This strategy would require additional investment in library staff and infrastructure to support increased demands on staff time and to develop system capabilities that comply with the federal policies. A coalition of library associations has already proposed one such model; their system, called SHARE, will be discussed in our next post.

To be Continued… The final chapter (Part 3) of our series on pending public access policies will introduce the two most prominent models that have been proposed to fulfill federal requirements for a suitable repository.


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

Public Access Policies (Part 1): FASTR, PAPS, and the OSTP Directive

Two new public access bills and a directive from the White House have rekindled public access discussions in 2013, with some immediate implications for federally funded research and many details yet to be determined. This is the first in a three part series exploring (1) what these initiatives entail, (2) what they could mean for copyright, libraries, and researchers, and (3) the proposed next steps for implementation. Without further ado, Part 1 will provide a brief introduction to the three public access initiatives.

Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR)

See the full text of the bill here.

  • Introduced in both the House and the Senate on February 14, 2013
  • Requires public access for research funded in part or in whole by federal agencies with extramural research budgets in excess of $100 million per year (~11 agencies at current count)
  • Six month embargo for most articles; no embargo for works by government employees

FASTR is considered to be a new, improved version of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which was last seen in Congress in 2012 but never voted upon.  If you are familiar with FRPAA, then much of FASTR will sound the same; however, FASTR improves on its predecessor by requiring federal agencies to coordinate their policies and introducing open licensing as a desired outcome. Specifically, open licensing is requested to further support text mining, data mining, and other computational analysis of materials in the repository.

Public access would be provided through one or more designated digital repositories. One option could resemble the NIH Public Access Policy and PubMed Central, however FASTR allows agencies to identify a suitable repository whether that results in the development of a new central system or the use of existing institutional repositories. Funding agreements would require researchers to deposit the accepted version of a peer reviewed paper in the designated repository, but this legislation would not require publishers to deposit the final published version.

Find more information on FASTR here:

Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Directive

See the full text of the directive here.

  • Issued on February 22, 2013
  • Known as the OSTP directive, the White House directive, or the Obama directive
  • Instructs federal agencies that spend more than $100 million per year on research and development to develop public access policies for funded research
  • Twelve month embargo for all funded articles

The OSTP directive on “increasing access to the results of federally funded scientific research” requires federal agencies with annual research and development expenditures exceeding $100 million per year to draft public access policies for funded research within six months. If this sounds familiar, that’s because the OSTP directive is very similar to FASTR in scope and objectives. Peter Suber’s excellent article provides a detailed discussion of the ways in which FASTR and the OSTP directive overlap and complement one another; two of the most salient points are:

(1)    The OSTP directive has already gone into effect, whereas FASTR would not come into play for another year if and when it passed. Federal agencies affected by the OSTP directive (a larger group than FASTR) had six months from the publication of the directive to submit drafts of their public access policies to OSTP; drafts were due in August 2013 and interested parties are calling for OSTP to make them publically available for comment by the open access community and other stakeholders.

(2)    Enacting one does not devalue or unnecessarily duplicate the work of other. FASTR and the OSTP directive together would result in a stronger, more comprehensive package in favor of public access and greater system functionality, especially where the finer details related to metadata, data, and embargo periods are concerned. For instance, the OSTP directive is the only proposal to include public access to data (FASTR and PAPS do not mention it). Secondly, while the OSTP directive could be revoked by the next President, FASTR would codify these public access policies and enjoy more longevity.

Find more information on the OSTP Public Access Directive here:

Public Access to Public Science Act (PAPS)

See the full text of the bill here.

  • Introduced in the House on September 20, 2013
  • Requires public access for research funded by federal agencies under the jurisdiction of the House Science Committee
  • Twelve month minimum embargo for all articles, with possible extensions in six month increments

PAPS pertains to four agencies under the jurisdiction of the House Science Committee. Like FASTR and the OSTP directive, PAPS requires public access for federally funded research and emphasizes accessibility, preservation, and functionality to support data and text mining of the funded articles. Funded research articles would be deposited in a public access repository with immediate publication of article metadata and subsequent full-text open access. PAPS differentiates itself with a request for retroactive inclusion of covered works in designated public access repositories where practicable, and a requirement that federal agencies negotiate policies with stakeholders.

Find more information on PAPS here:

Stay tuned for the next installment of our series on public access initiatives; Part 2 will discuss the potential effects of the pending policies on researchers and libraries, and explore the copyright implications of each initiative, while Part 3 will examine two proposed strategies for implementing these policies.


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