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Open Access

About Public Access Policies

In 2022, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released the memorandum, "Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research."  It advises federal agencies to update their public access policies regarding the research outputs that result from their sponsored research by December 31, 2024 and with one year for them to be in effect.  This directive, also known as The Nelson Memo, suggests that research outputs are publicly available without an embargo or delay.  Some states have proposed and enacted legislation while private funders have policies mandating public access to their funded research.

As federal and private public access policies evolve, they focus on providing broader access to publications and data from their funded research.  The policies also define ways to adhere to them.  Principal investigators are typically responsible for following with these policies;  they or their institutions may face consequences for non-compliance.

Public Access Policies and Other Research Sponsors. 

In addition to government agencies, foundations such as the Gates Foundation and other research funders have adopted public access policies that require their sponsored work to be available to the public.  They may refer to them as 'public access' or 'open access' policies.  Check their policies for requirements.  

This guide provides links to information about major federal and private funder public access policies. Consult your grant and journal policies for specific guidance.

Is Public Access the Same as Open Access? 

Open Access (OA) is a publishing model that makes various works available without a subscription or direct cost.  It is not a policy or the same as public access.  Publishing your sponsored research in an Open Access journal may fulfill a public access policy, but verify this with your sponsor or funder.

Public Access Statements and Policies

Related Research Guides

Find Public Access Policies by Funders and Publishers

Tools for Tracking Funder Policies

Federal Government Public Access Mandates

NIH-Funded Research

NSF-Funded Research

US Department of Education Public Access Mandates

Last updated on Apr 2, 2024 3:49 PM