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Open Access Plan for NSF

The US National Science Foundation has issued a new policy requiring researchers it funds to make their papers freely accessible within a year of publication, reports ScienceInsider. The agency is not creating its own version of PubMed Central; it instead will use the Department of Energy-developed PAGES system through which the repository will contain paper abstracts and information on authors, journal issue, and link to the full-text paper at the publisher site, if available, or to a PDF at a separate, full-text DOE archive.

This move, ScienceInsider's Jocelyn Kaiser notes, was expected, though still disappointed some open-access advocates.

"I just worry about having another subset of federally funded articles resident on publishers' websites where we rely on those websites for any kind of text or data mining, then a PDF in a dark archive that we can't do anything with," adds Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

The policy also brings NSF in line with a February 2013 directive from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that instructed federal agencies that spend more than $100 million a year on research and development to enable public access to such research.

Kaiser adds that NSF will launch its repository later this year for voluntary submissions and that the new policy requirements will go into effect for proposals submitted after the beginning of next year.