February 28, 2013

Whether it was a gesture toward Aaron Swartz or simply because it makes perfect sense to do it, the White House has issued an order requiring that government-funded studies be made available to the public free of charge.

Via Huffington Post:

The Obama administration just granted his wish -- at least as it pertains to research funded by taxpayers.

The White House directed federal agencies on Friday to make the results of federally-funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication. The new policy came after more than 65,000 people signed a petition asking for expanded public access to the results of studies paid for by taxpayers.

"Americans should have easy access to the results of research they help support," John P. Holdren, the president's senior advisor on science and technology, said in a memo announcing the new open-access policy.

Making such data freely available will lead to new innovations, according to Holdren. For example, giving the public free access to genome sequences has led to many biotechnology innovations, he said.

This is definitely a move in the right direction. Now they need to push for public universities to do the same, rather than leaving it locked away in the bowels of academia.

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