Topic ID #27303 - posted 2/23/2013 3:06 AM

Petition Response: Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research

Charlie Hatchett

I know several on this forum signed this petition:

From: The White House
To: Charlie Hatchett
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 6:58 PM
Subject: Petition Response: Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research

Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research

By Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Thank you for your participation in the We the People platform. The Obama Administration agrees that citizens deserve easy access to the results of research their tax dollars have paid for. As you may know, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has been looking into this issue for some time and has reached out to the public on two occasions for input on the question of how best to achieve this goal of democratizing the results of federally-funded research. Your petition has been important to our discussions of this issue.

The logic behind enhanced public access is plain. We know that scientific research supported by the Federal Government spurs scientific breakthroughs and economic advances when research results are made available to innovators. Policies that mobilize these intellectual assets for re-use through broader access can accelerate scientific breakthroughs, increase innovation, and promote economic growth. That’s why the Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that the results of federally-funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community.

Moreover, this research was funded by taxpayer dollars. Americans should have easy access to the results of research they help support.

To that end, I have issued a memorandum today (.pdf) to Federal agencies that directs those with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months after original publication. As you pointed out, the public access policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health has been a great success. And while this new policy call does not insist that every agency copy the NIH approach exactly, it does ensure that similar policies will appear across government.

As I mentioned, these policies were developed carefully through extensive public consultation. We wanted to strike the balance between the extraordinary public benefit of increasing public access to the results of federally-funded scientific research and the need to ensure that the valuable contributions that the scientific publishing industry provides are not lost. This policy reflects that balance, and it also provides the flexibility to make changes in the future based on experience and evidence. For example, agencies have been asked to use a 12-month embargo period as a guide for developing their policies, but also to provide a mechanism for stakeholders to petition the agency to change that period. As agencies move forward with developing and implementing these polices, there will be ample opportunity for further public input to ensure they are doing the best possible job of reconciling all of the relevant interests.

In addition to addressing the issue of public access to scientific publications, the memorandum requires that agencies start to address the need to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data produced with Federal funding. Strengthening these policies will promote entrepreneurship and jobs growth in addition to driving scientific progress. Access to pre-existing data sets can accelerate growth by allowing companies to focus resources and efforts on understanding and fully exploiting discoveries instead of repeating basic, pre-competitive work already documented elsewhere. For example, open weather data underpins the forecasting industry and provides great public benefits, and making human genome sequences publically available has spawned many biomedical innovations—not to mention many companies generating billions of dollars in revenues and the jobs that go with them. Going forward, wider availability of scientific data will create innovative economic markets for services related to data curation, preservation, analysis, and visualization, among others.

So thank you again for your petition. I hope you will agree that the Administration has done its homework and responded substantively to your request.

Charlie Hatchett

Post ID#20089 - replied 4/10/2013 5:46 PM


It seems he is referring more towards the technological side of science, like the stuff DoE funds through various labs such as Oak Ridge.  I don't work for the feds, but I have a research fellowship through ORISE on a DoD installation.  I haven't heard of this document nor any other CRMP (cultural resources management program) coworkers.

What did your original message or petition say Charlie?  I'm all for the move to open access data, but I do wonder what the affect may be considering site locations are exempt from the public domain.

Post ID#20090 - replied 4/11/2013 3:08 AM

Charlie Hatchett

Here you go:

We petition the Obama administration to:

Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.

We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research.

The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.

Created: May 13, 2012

total signatures

Post ID#20091 - replied 4/11/2013 5:22 AM


Thanks Charlie,

Thats an amazing amount of signatures.  Its incredible what the internet can do that would have been nearly impossible 10-15 years ago.

Post ID#20092 - replied 4/11/2013 8:07 AM

Charlie Hatchett

No doubt!!

Post ID#20156 - replied 5/10/2013 4:15 AM

Charlie Hatchett

The White House

Hi, all --

Earlier today, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing his administration to take historic steps to make government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs and others as fuel for innovation and economic growth.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The Executive Order declares that information is a valuable resource and strategic asset for the nation.
  • Newly generated government data will be required to be made available in open, machine-readable format by default -- enhancing their accessibility and usefulness, and ensuring privacy and security.
  • These executive actions will allow entrepreneurs and companies to take advantage of this information -- fueling economic growth in communities across the Nation

Watch this short video and find out more about today's announcement

Thank you again for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing the growing public good that will be created by entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators like you as you use an expanding supply of open data to fuel new products and services, launch new businesses, and fuel job growth across America.

All the best,


Todd Park
Chief Technology Officer
Office of Science and Technology Policy
The White House

Post ID#20157 - replied 5/10/2013 4:18 AM

Charlie Hatchett

Landmark Steps to Liberate Open Data

Today, as he heads to Austin, Texas, for a Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing historic steps to make government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs and others as fuel for innovation and economic growth. The Executive Order declares that information is a valuable resource and strategic asset for the Nation. We couldn’t agree more.

Under the terms of the Executive Order and a new Open Data Policy released today by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget, all newly generated government data will be required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, greatly enhancing their accessibility and usefulness, while ensuring privacy and security.

During his visit to Austin, President Obama will meet with technology entrepreneurs who are hiring workers with cutting-edge skills and creating the tools and products that will drive America’s long term economic growth.  This includes technology entrepreneurs utilizing government data to grow their company.  Under the President’s Open Data Executive Order, more data will be made available allowing these types of entrepreneurs and companies to take advantage of this information, fueling economic growth in communities across the Nation.

Since the earliest days of this Administration, the Federal Government has taken unprecedented steps to make government data more available to citizens, companies, and innovators.  Through the platform, which launched in 2009, users can access government datasets about a wide array of topics. Thousands of datasets have already been added to and more than half-a-million data downloads have occurred in the last year alone, and we’re working to make the site even better.

As part of the Administration’s Digital Government Strategy and Open Data Initiatives in health, energy, education, public safety, finance, and global development, agencies have been hard at work unlocking valuable data from the vaults of government.  The Health Data Initiative, for instance, has opened growing amounts of health-related information in open, machine-readable formats. Hundreds of companies and nonprofits have used these data to develop new products and services that are helping millions of Americans and creating jobs of the future in the process.

Just yesterday, as part of the Administration’s work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable, the Department of Health and Human Services released new data on fees that hospitals charge, a major step in creating greater price transparency.   

We’ve also collaborated with the private and nonprofit sectors through a series of White House datajams and datapaloozas to help spark activity by entrepreneurs and innovators to use open data to build new products, services, and innovations. As a result, there are private companies using open data to fight credit card fraud; consumers using open data to save on their energy bills; families leveraging open data to compare health care options; and a host of new apps and tools in areas ranging from public safety, to financial planning, to education, and more.

Much progress has been made. But many more government datasets are still hard to find or are locked-up in unusable formats. By requiring that government agencies provide newly generated government data in machine-readable formats like CSV, XML, and JSON and, when appropriate, expose data via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the new Executive Order and Policy will further accelerate the liberation of government data.

We are very excited about the path ahead and can’t wait to see what new ideas and yet-to-be-imagined innovations can be unlocked by increased access to open data.


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