With a federal agency deadline looming to comply with a White House directive, members of the Association of American Publishers this week further detailed its plan for a service to make federally-funded research available to the public. Dubbed CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States) AAP officials say the effort is a "public-private partnership for a framework to increase public access to peer-reviewed publications" endorsed by some 70 signatories, and includes the participation of publishers including American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society Elsevier, and Wiley.
AAP officials say that they believe CHORUS will provide “a full solution” for agencies to comply with the provisions of the White House directive, “while building on publishers’ existing, proven infrastructure; avoiding duplication of effort; minimizing taxpayer cost; and ensuring the critical sustainability of the scholarly communication system.”
A “Proof of Concept” will be released on August 30, AAP adds, and a pilot could be underway by the end of September.
The AAP release touting CHORUS comes as an August 22 deadline passed for U.S. federal agencies to submit plans for how they will comply with a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directive requiring all agencies with research budgets of $100 million or more to make that research freely available to the public. The directive, issued in February, 2013, could affect some 19 federal agencies, and would cover “any results published in peer-reviewed scholarly publications that are based on research that directly arises from Federal funds.”
The White House directive will not apply to any articles or manuscripts “submitted for publication prior to the plan’s effective date.” And no timetable for implementation of the plan is currently set.
Notably, the directive, which public access supporters have officials have called “historic,” came just days after Congress introduced The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), a bill that would also mandate public access to publicly-funded federal research. But while the AAP supports the White House directive to open up federal research, it strongly opposes the passage of FASTR.
AAP officials say the language of the White House directive “recognizes that publishers provide valuable services,” and encourages “public-private partnerships.”
On the other hand, AAP officials have labeled FASTR, a wasteful government program that would impose a nightmare of regulatory burden on researchers and duplicate activity from publishers, and “would threaten the role publishers play in vetting, producing, establishing and preserving the integrity of scientific works.”
While supporting the White House directive, Public Access advocates also continue to support FASTR which extends previous legislative efforts, like FRPAA, by seeking to enable data mining across the "full range of articles" funded by federal tax dollars. This is a crucial step, FASTR supporters say, noting that enabling computers to “highlight patterns, links, and associations that would otherwise go undiscovered” could add value to and revolutionize the research process.
In a statement this week, AAP officials reiterated their support for the White House directive.
“AAP remains supportive of [the White House OSTP] work to expand public access to federally-funded research and we look forward to continuing our ongoing involvement in this thoughtful process,” reads an AAP statement. “The publishing community welcomes renewed opportunities to work with OSTP and all stakeholders in moving these shared goals forward.”
Correction: an earlier version of this story inadvertently mischaracterized CHORUS, and its relation to the White House directive. It is a service created by publishers.