Home Scholarly Communication Open Access What's New in Open Access?

What's New in Open Access?

The world of scholarly publishing is changing rapidly and rise of new open access models and directives is shaping the conversation about the future of scholarship. Below is a brief summary of major events or initiatives that have taken place around open access recently. 

In August 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memorandum called, Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research. This is a development since the 2013 memo which required that federally funded research must be made freely available to the public within a year of publication (also known as a 12-month embargo). The 2022 memo calls upon federal agencies to “Update their public access policies as soon as possible, and no later than December 31st, 2025, to make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research publicly accessible without an embargo on their free and public release” (cite this webpage in footnotes: https://www.osti.gov/2022-OSTP-Public-Access-Memo-Release). Additionally, the guidance requires research organizations to provide immediate access to the data underlying publications, and ensure that all publications are machine readable.

NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

In January 2023, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated their 2003 Data Sharing policy, renaming it the Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy. It requires submission and implementation of DMS plans for all awards generating scientific data. In addition, the new policy requires data to be shared upon publication of associated findings and encourages researchers to place data, code, and other supporting materials in open data repositories, where feasible and responsible. This new policy aligns with the open access goals of accessibility, discovery, rigor, reuse, and reproducibility. The NIH has also pointed to their new policy as their response to and compliance with the OSTP memo. For assistance with data management and sharing, visit our research data site.

Plan S

Plan S, launched in 2018, aims to shift all publicly funded research from supporting European countries from paywalled to open access by 2021. As publishers operate globally, Plan S has the potential to affect the entire publishing ecosystem as they adapt to the demands of their European customer base. Read more here: https://www.coalition-s.org/.

In response to Plan S and institutional open access mandates, academic consortia and institutions are negotiating transformative agreements with publishers. These agreements seek to transform the existing scholarly publishing model from subscription based access to open access. A popular method of doing this is the Read and Publish agreement, in which libraries continue to pay subscription dollars and APCs for faculty publishing are rolled into the price, allowing institutional authors to publish open access at no cost to them.

Major Transformative Agreements

Recent agreements that have been negotiated in the U.S. include:

Yale University Library supports the transition to a more open publishing landscape by negotiating transformative agreements and publisher memberships that reduce or remove cost barriers to authors who wish to publish open access.  We were an early adopter of PLOS's institutional membership program, in which library funding eliminates APC charges for Yale authors.  Read more about how the library supports and promotes openness here: https://guides.library.yale.edu/openaccess/support

Many universities are also re-evaluating their contracts with commercial publishers through an open access lens and ending relationships with those who are unwilling to support open access publishing while making the costs sustainable for institutions.

The University of California led this effort in the U.S. in 2018 by cancelling their subscription to materials on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform when they could not reach an agreement with the publisher that would both promote open access and cap institutional costs. In 2021, however, UC announced that they had negotiated a new deal with Elsevier that met both university and publisher goals. 

Read more about the agreement here.