In today’s Federal Register there are two requests for comment on the topic of public access to federally funded research. They come from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). One focuses on the digital data produced by that research, the other concerns the publications that result from this research. The requests come from two subgroups of the National Science and Technology Council, both of which are responsible for developing sections of a report that OSTP must submit as part of the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. The report is focused on determining standards and policies to help ensure long-term preservation and access to digital data and research publications produced from federally funded research.
Arguably this report could be quite important. Bills to expand the kind of open access provisions for federal research have not gotten terribly far in Congress of late, and its possible that the recommendations in this report would be the best means of expanding the ability of the public to access the output of the research that their tax dollars help support. It could prove a meaningful step forward in the efforts to establish a more uniform digital data infrastructure for research, development and application.
It’s important to note that the two requests have different deadlines for submission. Responses to the digital data request are due January 12. Responses to the publications request are due January 2.