Thursday, May 29, 2008

America Competes Act and Open Access

The The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act (COMPETES) has been cited in a couple of the responses to the extended consultation period made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health on the new requirement aspect of the Public Access Policy.

Open Access will advance the goals of COMPETES.

American researchers will benefit from the open access impact advantage. There is a substantial body of evidence that articles that are made openly accessible are more likely to be read and cited, as documented in Steve Hitchcock's bibliography. This enhances the status and career of the researcher, and means the work is more likely to be built upon in the scientific process which generally involves a series of incremental steps. Open Access to American research raises the priority of American research interests throughout the global scholarly community.

COMPETES includes the goal - both wise and kind - of enhancing educational opportunities to help Americans to develop the key skill sets needed for research and innovation for the future, and particularly to reach out to assist those with low-incomes, underrepresented minorities, and to assist students and teachers at high-needs schools.

Open Access will facilitate progress towards this goal. It is the wealthiest institutions and regions that currently enjoy the best access to the scholarly literature, while poorer institutions and regions are left behind. With Open Access, students and teachers at a rural school in a poorer neighborhood have all the materials needed for success at university and beyond, in the workforce or business community.

Open Access does not impact on research destined for the commercial market. The NIH policy clearly states that the policy applies to articles accepted for publication. If a company does not wish to make research available while a patent is pending, they will not want to publish the results!

Public comments to the NIH policy are due by 5:00 p.m. Saturday, May 31. Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News.