MIT responds to White House directive on expanding open access

MIT has issued a response to the White House in support of open access again — this time to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in relation to the OSTP’s February 22 directive on public access to federally funded research and data. The directive asks each federal agency with over $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to create a plan to support increased public access to the results of research they fund, and gives them six months (until August 22) to come up with policies that would make both articles and data openly available to the public.

For articles, MIT’s response calls for copyright to be “assigned…in a non-exclusive manner to ensure frictionless reuse” including for “discovery, sharing, and text mining.” MIT also supports enhancing access through the use of open licensing (e.g. via Creative Commons), which would maximize the potential for reuse and “fuel innovation.” The response recommends that publications be made available within six months of publication — but certainly no later than 12 months — and that “common procedures, requirements, and processes should be established across all funding agencies” so that participation is convenient for authors.

For data, MIT reiterated the call for common practices. In addition, MIT recommended persistent identifiers for data sets, and an “agreed-upon standard for citing data” which would “enable easy reuse and verification,” as well as “allow the impact of data to be tracked.” Other recommendations open access to data included developing a “minimum set of core metadata” and “an API for standards-based data exchange, to help ensure a level of interoperability and discovery across all disciplines.” The response also emphasizes the need for common legal agreements that ensure discovery, mining, reuse and sharing and recommends against allowing any “single entity or group” being allowed to “secure an exclusive right over digital data or new business opportunities.”

Following MIT’s response, the Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Association of Research Libraries issued a proposal called SHARE in response to the directive. The proposal emphasizes that “universities have invested in the infrastructure, tools, and services necessary to provide effective and efficient access to their research and scholarship,” and that to meet the goals of the White House directive they could develop a federated “system of cross-institutional digital repositories” to be called the “SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE).” Publishers have also put forward their own proposal.

Background information:

White house directive on open access to data and publications

Responses to directive, including MIT’s on publications (see p. 71) and on data (see p. 25)

Publisher proposal (CHORUS)

Association of American Universities, APLU, and ARL proposal (SHARE); also discussed in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Prior MIT Responses to open access inquiries from the OSTP in 2010 and 2012