New rule requires journals to end paywalls on federally funded research

Academic journals will be required to provide immediate access to taxpayer-supported papers for free under updated guidance issued by the White House.

The guidance, issued Aug. 25, comes from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Under the requirement, federal agencies with research and development expenditures must update their public access policies by 2026 to make their supporting data resulting from federally financed research accessible to the public, without an embargo or cost.

The directive also requires federal agencies with research and development expenditures to "establish transparent procedures that ensure scientific and research integrity is maintained in public access policies," and coordinate with the White House "to ensure equitable delivery of federally funded research results and data."

The guidance effectively ends a policy that allowed an optional 12-month embargo for agencies, according to The New York Times.

The new guidance applies to about 400 or more entities, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, several experts said, according to the newspaper.

"When research is widely available to other researchers and the public, it can save lives, provide policymakers with the tools to make critical decisions and drive more equitable outcomes across every sector of society," Alondra Nelson, PhD, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said in a news release. "The American people fund tens of billions of dollars of cutting-edge research annually. There should be no delay or barrier between the American public and the returns on their investments in research."

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