ARL Commends Obama Administration for Historic Action Opening up Access to Federally Funded Research

Today, the Obama administration issued a historic Policy Memorandum that opens up access to the results of publicly funded research. ARL applauds the Obama administration for this critically important action. The memorandum calls upon federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with free and unlimited online access to the results of that research.

“This memorandum reflects how 21st-century science is conducted in order to advance discovery while, at the same time, it makes federal investment in research broadly available. ARL commends the Obama administration for recognizing the importance and value of making the results of federally funded research publicly available,” said Wendy Lougee, President of ARL and University Librarian, McKnight Presidential Professor, University of Minnesota Libraries.

The federal government funds tens of billions of dollars in scientific research each year, with the understanding that this taxpayer investment will advance science, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and lead to medical breakthroughs, thus improving the lives of all Americans. This research is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals but is not widely available because many journals are too expensive and difficult to access.

The White House policy directs that the results of government-funded research—including both unclassified articles and digital data—must be made freely available to the general public. Articles resulting from publicly funded research must be made available using 12 months as a guide after publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

As noted by Elliott Shore, Executive Director of ARL, “this memorandum builds on years of investment by the government, research libraries, and the academy to advance the nation’s innovation agenda. ARL looks forward to working with federal agencies to ensure that their policies work well for research institutions and the public.”

The memorandum comes as the bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), is making its way through the US House of Representatives and Senate. The legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at