29 April 2020
By: Brooks Hanson, EVP, Science and Matt Giampoala, VP, Publications
Last December, scholarly publishers learned that the Trump Administration was considering an executive order that would have extended the 2013 White House memorandums to require immediate public access to scientific data and publications for U.S. federally funded grants. AGU would likely have been able to comply with the rumored guidance, as we have worked to expand communication and public access to scientific articles while maintaining high quality, and we are also already encouraging the posting of papers on preprint servers.
That said, we joined other publishers in asking the White House to pause the process because we believe that there should be discussion with and considered input from scholarly societies and other stakeholders about the impact and potential unintended consequences of the potential executive order on scholarly outreach and societies.
AGU appreciates that the administration heard this feedback and has hosted roundtable discussions with stakeholders, including scientific societies, and issued a request for information (RFI) about this important issue. Today, AGU responded to the RFI, referencing a related RFI on desirable data repository characteristics.
Our response highlights AGU’s strong advocacy for open and accessible science and research that also ensures and enhances the quality of the peer review process. Some examples of our support for these broader goals include:
- 96 percent of our content published since 1997 is now freely accessible.
- All new AGU journals since 2010 have been gold open access, including our newest title AGU Advances, and the recently converted Space Weather.
- AGU Digital Library, our digitized journal content published before 1997, is an benefit provided to all individual members.
- Free commentaries and coverage of scientific articles in Eos.org improve the ability of lay audiences to access the science.
- Research data are linked to publications and curated where possible in leading repositories.
AGU is also Plan S compliant through its transitional deals and open access options for all journals. By using a hybrid subscription and open access approach, AGU has also been able to support the significant number of authors that lack the funds to publish only in gold open access journals.
We encourage you to read our short response to the RFI to understand our position. Our response highlights some of the larger challenges associated with supporting access, communication and quality around scholarly publications and in developing a culture and means for widespread sharing of data.