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OSTP Explores Cost of Open Access Publishing

NOV 27, 2023
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Science Policy Reporter, FYI American Institute of Physics
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An illustration used to promote the Biden administration’s “year of open science.”

NSF

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published a report on Nov. 22 that explores the impact of different mechanisms for covering the cost of openly publishing federally-funded research. The report outlines multiple challenges in calculating total article processing fees (APCs) borne by federal grantees and intramural researchers, but estimates that in 2021 the cost was roughly $378 million.

Congress requested the report through its appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2023, citing concerns that some open access publishing financing mechanisms, particularly APCs and transformative agreements, may “present growing barriers to knowledge generation and sharing.” Congress specifically asked OSTP to estimate how much of the costs of both APCs and transformative agreements were borne by federal grantees.

OSTP states it is unable to offer an accurate estimate of the costs of transformative agreements, citing complexities in how they are financed. The report builds on an economic analysis OSTP released in August 2022 alongside a directive that requires federally funded research publications to be free to read immediately upon publication, starting in 2026.

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