SRCD Signs on to Two Letters Regarding Potential United States White House Executive Order on Open Access
SRCD has signed on to two letters regarding a proposed U.S. White House Executive Order eliminating a public access embargo on all peer-reviewed journal articles supported by federally funded research. The effect of this policy decision would be to make all federally funded scholarly research publicly available immediately upon publication. SRCD supports an orderly transition to enhanced access to research. However, such a proposed top-down mandate lacks consideration for how the policy would affect the scientific community and would be enacted without the consultation of key stakeholders. We anticipate and embrace a rapid evolution of the publication ecosystem (researchers, universities, publishers, funders, and associations) to achieve Open Access (OA) but want to ensure that such a transition fully protects scholars' capacity to publish.
We are concerned that the proposed policy would disproportionately burden scholars from the social-behavioral sciences given more modest grant sizes. Downstream, this also has the potential to impact the publishing capacity of researchers both with and without federal funding sources. The proposed Executive Order does not allow for transition time, and upends the existing publishing models without provision of infrastructure or support for an alternative approach. We contrast the proposed White House approach with Europe’s Plan S which involved extensive consultation with key stakeholders and buy-in from federal government funding agencies to provide funds to subsidize the publication of scholarship with no direct adverse effect on the scientists.