In 2022, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Public Access Memorandum (the Nelson Memo) requiring researchers to make their publications and related datasets funded by federal entities to be made publicly accessible without embargo. This memo comes after a string of such efforts that tie government funding to public access, from US government and beyond: National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandated public access in 2008; OSTP mandated embargoed public access in 2013; Plan S mandated public access for European researchers in 2020; NIH mandated data sharing for genomics in 2015 and for all research in 2023. These mandates are part of broader Open Science movements, aimed at increasing access to scientific research. (Incidentally, 2023 is the 'Year of Open Science,' designated by the Biden administration.)
A particular challenge related to this intersection of government mandate and open science is in the changes that the shift in knowledge dissemination may have on knowledge production through scientific research. If researchers seek to produce closed- i.e., behind a paywall- work for any number of reasons, they may forego the financial support from government entities and rely instead on private, and potentially ideologically motivated, funding. The social value of open science practices remains in question, though it will likely be related to future impacts that these practices have on scientific research.
This panel seeks to critically engage connections between open science and public access mandates, especially through papers that address the impacts of public access on scientific research.