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White House issues landmark Directive making publicly funded research freely available to students, rest of public

Published Feb 22, 2013, 1:44pm

February 22, 2013

Contact: Nick Shockey


Washington, D.C. – The Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) today applauds President Obama and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for issuing a landmark Directive to ensure the results of all publicly funded research are made freely available to the public to read and reuse.

“Generations of students will benefit from today’s Directive,” said Nick Shockey, Director of the Right to Research Coalition.  “For too long, students have been locked out of large portions of the published research literature – research they and their families already paid for through tax dollars – due to outrageously high subscription prices.  Research articles are essential to a complete, up-to-date education, and this Directive ensures far more students will have access to the cutting-edge training necessary to succeed in a modern economy.”

Every year, the federal government uses taxpayer dollars to fund tens of billions of dollars of scientific research that results in thousands upon thousands of articles published in scientific journals.  The government funds this research with the understanding that it will advance science, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and improve the lives of our citizens.  Yet most taxpayers – including students, academics, and patients – are shut out of accessing and using the results of the research that their tax dollars fund, because it is only available through expensive and often hard-to-access scientific journals.

“Students aren’t just consumers of research.  They’re powerful producers.  One only need look to Jack Andraka, the 16-year-old Maryland high school student who invented a breakthrough diagnostic for pancreatic cancer based on articles he found freely available online, to see how the Directive will empower students to contribute even more to world-changing research,” said Shockey.

The White House Directive affirms the principle that the public has a right to access the results of taxpayer-funded research and calls on all federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide free and timely online access to the results of that research.  Articles reporting on the results of publicly funded scientific research must be made available no later than 12 months after publication in a scientific journal.

Additional details about the Directive can be found here.

To follow the conversation on Twitter use the hashtags #openaccess or #OA.  Media questions can be directed to @R2RC or


About the Right to Research Coalition

The Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance of 62 student organizations, which collectively represent nearly 7 million students around the world, that work to make the results of research openly available through education and advocacy. The Right to Research Coalition is an initiative of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

More information can be found at

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