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Frontiers welcomes the continued resolve of Congress “to making science free and open for the American public”

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Frontiers welcomes the continued resolve of Congress “to making science free and open for the American public”  

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Dallas, TX – March 4, 2024 – Frontiers, a leading research publisher and open science platform, today released a statement in public support of the wording in federal legislation that would promote the widespread, free, and equitable sharing of the latest scientific knowledge. 

The open-science community had been concerned about a recent House Appropriations bill that included language that would have limited the effectiveness of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) guidelines published in August 2022 in the so called “Nelson Memo”.  The Nelson Memo instructs all agencies to make federally funded research immediately free for anyone to access. The adverse wording (Section 552) is not included, in large part thanks to the efforts of open science advocates such as Frontiers.  Dr Frederick Fenter, Frontiers’ Chief Executive Editor, said: 

“Frontiers has engaged with Congress over the last two years in support of the Nelson Memo and opposing efforts to defund implementation of the policy. We wholly endorse OSTP’s efforts to make federally funded research freely available without delay, and we welcome Congress’s decision to support the ongoing implementation of the Nelson Memo, taking a step closer to making science free and open for the American public and users worldwide.”  

Explanatory language in the House Appropriations Committee FY24 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill directs OSTP “to produce an in-depth financial analysis of the August 25, 2022, Memorandum to Executive Departments and Agencies titled, ‘Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research’,” as the Nelson Memo is officially known. 

On the bill’s requirement for OSTP to create and submit to Congress a more detailed report on the costs and benefits of the Nelson Memo, Dr. Fenter commented:  

“The public pays for billions of dollars of scientific research every year. But two-thirds of its results are locked behind publishing paywalls. The benefits of open access to research far outweigh the costs of implementation, and we welcome the discussion and debate that will arise from the OSTP’s financial analysis. 

“This legislation will allow scientists to collaborate better and innovate faster. From severe weather to health emergencies, Americans face a growing number of immediate threats. We can manage and reverse these threats only through the widespread sharing of the latest scientific knowledge.” 

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