Intended for healthcare professionals


No turning back on global open access

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 05 October 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2334
  1. Virginia Barbour, director1,
  2. Dimity Flanagan, manager, scholarly communications2,
  3. Kim Tairi, university librarian3
  1. 1Open Access Australasia, UNSW Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. 2University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia
  3. 3Te Mātāpuna, Library and Learning Services, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland City, New Zealand
  4. Correspondence to: V Barbour

US government sends a strong signal

On 25 August 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the US White House issued guidance requiring, from 2026, immediate public access to federally funded research publications and the data behind them.1 This is the probably the most consequential in a trajectory of open access policies that have been building pressure for wholesale change. In 2013 President Barack Obama’s office issued guidance requiring public access to research funded by the largest agencies, although he allowed a 12 month embargo—a reflection of concerted lobbying by publishers in the US.2 In 2016, while vice president, Joe Biden acknowledged the limitations of that guidance when discussing access to research in his cancer moonshot initiative: “Tell me how [publisher paywalls are] moving the process along more rapidly.”3

In 2018 the policy initiative passed to Europe, when a group of funders (Coalition S) announced Plan S, requiring immediate and full open access to their funded research, with a clear roadmap for implementation from 2021.4 The covid-19 …

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