Updates to White House’s Public Access Policy  

On August 25th, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum updating its public access policy guidance to federal grant-making agencies. The previous guidance, written in 2013, allowed journals to require authors to embargo their articles for 12 months before making the full text freely accessible to the public. With the implementation of this new policy, that embargo period is no longer an option. 

By January 2026, all federal funding agencies are required to have updated their policies to ensure that research that has been publicly funded is openly accessible to the public on the first day it is published. In a press release, the OSTP referenced the Covid-19 pandemic and noted that making research on the virus immediately accessible was a “powerful case study on the benefits of delivering research results and data rapidly to the people.” The office noted that the “insights of new and cutting-edge research stemming from the support of federal agencies should be immediately available—not just in moments of crisis…but to advance all areas of study, including urgent issues such as cancer, clean energy, economic disparities, and climate change.” 

While this policy update is undeniably a win for proponents of open access, an article from InsideHigherEd.com noted that some scholars have concerns that researchers working at smaller institutions have had trouble publishing open access due to the often high cost of article processing charges (APCs). The funding to publish open access articles in top-tier journals without embargo will have to come from somewhere. Currently, researchers can ask for this cost to be included as part of their grant budgets, and many colleges and universities, including Jefferson, have programs to help fund open access publishing.

Please visit our guide to help bring publications into compliance with the current NIH public access policy. 

In addition to addressing peer-reviewed publications, the memorandum also addresses research data. But don’t wait till 2026. The NIH has a new data management and sharing policy that will take effect in January 2023. Learn more and register for a training session on creating a data management and sharing plan for your research.