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Federal Public Access Policy Compliance: Home

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

March 24, 2014, Letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees from John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy "Agencies are currently revising their plans to address OSTP and OMB comments and ensure compliance with all of the requirements laid out in the OSTP memorandum. Over the next few months, OSTP will convene interagency meetings to provide opportunities for agencies to work together to further refine the details of their plans and to explore other ways to work collaboratively going forward.”


White House Directive Specifics

The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy’s (OSTP) February 22, 2013 memorandum Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research (link to text of memo) describes new requirements for providing public access to federally funded scientific research publications and digital data sets. OSTP directed all agencies with greater than $100 million in yearly research and development expenditures to prepare a plan for improving the public’s access to the results of federally funded research. The requirements of each plan apply to researchers both within the Federal Government (intramural) and in organizations funded by the Federal Government (extramural).

Public Access Plan Components

Each sponsoring agency’s plan must contain:

  • a strategy for leveraging existing archives, where appropriate;
  • a strategy for improving the public’s ability to locate and access digital data;
  • an approach for optimizing search, archival, and dissemination features that encourages innovation in accessibility and interoperability, while ensuring long-term stewardship of the results;
  • a plan for notifying awardees and other federally funded scientific researchers of their obligations (e.g., through guidance, conditions of awards, and/or regulatory changes); and
  • an agency strategy for measuring and, as necessary, enforcing compliance with its plan.


What Information is Not Covered by These Requirements?

Public access to publications and data must honor and protect:

  • confidentiality and personal privacy;
  • proprietary interests and business confidential information;
  • intellectual property rights;
  • national and homeland security;
  • research, data and publications underlying rulemaking and other Administrative Procedures Act (APA) processes, during those processes; and
  • other exemptions and protections provided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Adapted from:  US Department of Transportation Handout Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike.
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