APS News

NIST Joins Other Agencies in Spelling Out an Open Access Policy

Officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced on April 3, 2015, that they plan to set up a central repository of free-to-read academic articles to comply with recent federal open access requirements. The institute was the last major scientific agency to establish an open access policy.

April 7, 2015  |  Michael Lucibella

According to their plan, starting in October of 2016, copies of all articles reporting research funded by NIST will be archived on a free, publically accessible server operated by the institute. Access to the stored articles would begin after a 12-month embargo period from the date of publication.

The policy comes as the result of a February 2013 memo from the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, calling for all federal science agencies to “develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the federal government," specifically requiring all unrestricted, federally funded science to be openly accessible after one year.

NIST will partner with the National Institutes of Health to adapt a version of their PubMed Central database, which is akin to the system NASA is developing. The Department of Defense is similarly adapting one of their online databases to host unclassified research articles.

However it differs from the open access policies outlined out by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. Their databases will only host the metadata and abstracts of the published articles and link to a publisher’s own website or an institutional website for the full journal text.

The NSF and DoE will also both host full text “dark archives” that won’t be open to the public for safe storage of these articles, or in case a journal or institution doesn’t make their versions publically available.

In addition, NIST is working on developing a Common Access Platform to store and retrieve data associated with its sponsored research. The plan says that the institute hopes to have a version of that portal up and running by October of this year.

Related Information

Gray arrow National Science Foundation Issues Open Access Policy - APS News Update, March 2015
Gray arrow OSTP Memo Sets Goal of Public Access - APS News, April 2013