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Executive Order on Research Access Considered

The Trump Administration is considering issuing an executive order to require federally funded research to be freely available upon publication, E&E News reports. This, it adds, would expand upon a 2013 Obama Administration mandate that called for publicly funded research to be freely available within a year of publication.

While there is support for such a move, a number of scientific societies and publishers oppose the changes, E&E News says. In a letter, organizations including the American Medical Association, the Genetics Society of America, Elsevier, and others argue that this change would "significantly harm the system of peer-reviewed scholarly communication that fuels America's leadership in research and innovation."

As Vox writes, the publishers worry that a switch to immediate open access would upend their business plans. This change, the letter-writers say, would "effectively nationalize the valuable American intellectual property that we produce and force us to give it away to the rest of the world for free."

But a number of researchers have pointed out on Twitter that they contribute articles and peer review of those articles to publishers for free and then their institutions have to pay to access those journals, Vox adds.