Federal Spending Bill Expands Research Funding With Open Access Mandate, Restores IMLS Funding

Ian Chant | Library Journal | January 23, 2014

The omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Obama on January 17 has plenty of wrinkles and details, but one of them is a change that expands the number of federal agencies operating under a mandate to make research they fund available to the public after one year.

The 1,500 page document, which outlines plans for spending $1.1 trillion essentially stitches together a disparate group of appropriations bills passed by various committees in Congress and makes a spending plan of them by putting price tags on each. Included is language that mandates that research funded by agencies operating under the portion of the bill covering Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education must be made available to the public for free online.

That change is good news for advocates of open access, said Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), as it expands the number of agencies operating under the kind of open access policies that have been in place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2008.