Contact: Louisa Tavlas

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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 30, 2022 – The Niskanen Center commends the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for its announcement to make the data and publications resulting from federally funded research publicly available without a paywall. This policy change comes after years of hard work from academics and public interest groups interested in expanding access to scientific research.

“This is an extension of Obama’s  2013 policy making such research available after one year and a continuation of Trump’s proposal to implement the zero-day paywall,” said Daniel Takash, regulatory policy fellow working on intellectual property at the Niskanen Center. “This history shows that there is bipartisan support for liberalizing access to information. Even though OSTP’s change doesn’t directly implicate copyright law, it’s a policy that dulls its sharper edges and fulfills the constitutional purpose of copyright to ‘promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.’”

This policy change requires developing and implementing  a zero-day paywall policy for agencies with over $100 million in R&D expenditures within six months and the same for those with less than $100 million within a year. It will also enable academics, nonprofits, corporations, and others to access the research sooner.

“Though seemingly unrelated, this policy is a complement to the Biden Administration’s move on higher education costs. It’s not enough to subsidize goods and services that Americans need when they are purchased in a market that is highly constrained,” said Takash. 

He added, “Higher education is a perfect case study. Journal subscriptions aren’t the priciest line-item in a university budget by a long shot, but it’s a major chunk of academic libraries’ budgets. This is low-hanging fruit that needs to be picked, and it’s great that OSTP took enough interest in the issue to do something.”

The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2015 to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.


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