Video: Columbia University hosts panel on public access to research

Three experts debate proposals for the White House #OSTP directive to expand access to federally-funded research

Last February, the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) directed US government agencies to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available within a year of publication, and for researchers to better account for the digital data they derive from federally funded research.

Since then, several organizations have come up with proposals to meet the requirements.

On November 12, the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University hosted a panel to discuss major proposals: CHORUS (the Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States), SHARE (SHared Access Research Ecosystem), and National Institutes for Health (NIH) policies.

The event was called "Expanding Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Implementing the OSTP Memo."

Panelists were Dr. Neil Thakur, Special Assistant to the Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Dr. Alicia Wise Director of Universal Access at Elsevier; and Judy Ruttenberg, Program Director for the Transforming Research Libraries strategic direction at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

The panel was moderated by Dr. Elwin Wu, Associate Director of the Columbia University School of Social Work Social Intervention Group and Co-Director of the HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Racial/Ethnic Minority New Investigators.


Here are some key topics the panelists discussed along with time markers:

  • In the first presentation, Dr. Neil Thakur describes the OSTP memo and, from 7:30, the NIH public access policy as one example of how the memo might be implemented using PubMed Central, which he describes as a public-private partnership between government, private funders and publishers.
  • Judy Ruttenberg speaks about a landscape with multiple services including SHARE, CHORUS and PubMed Central.Dr. Alicia Wise offers a publisher's perspective and an international perspective on the US public access policy discussions. She points out that publishers are engaging with and supporting the OSTP process, and from 27:45 she provides examples from Elsevier's OA initiatives. From 31:00 she outlines a number of details to be worked out by stakeholders, and from 34:40 describes the ways CHORUS can help address these challenges and meet the objectives of the OSTP memo. The compliance monitoring and tracking tools she discusses at 39:00, for example, appear to be of real interest to many stakeholders.
  • Judy Ruttenberg takes the microphone at 44:10, again emphasizing collaboration. She says there is no sense that the policy directive set by OSTP is controversial, but there are some practical choices and decisions to be made. She envisions a landscape with multiple services including SHARE, CHORUS and PubMed Central. Starting at 58:00, she speaks about the compliance challenge from an institutional and library perspective.


Elsevier Connect Author

Alison Bert, DMA

Alison Bert (@AlisonBert) is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect. She joined Elsevier five years ago from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. In the previous century, she was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She received a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and performed in the 1986 master class of Andres Segovia.

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