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OR Legislative Update, Public Access Policy Comments, and Open Government Web Sites

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to provide updates from the policy and legislative side of things. A few interesting things have come up in the past month or so that you might find of interest.

Oregon Legislative Update

The Oregon Legislature ended its session in February. Among the accomplishments cited in a press release from the Senate Majority Office of note is:

Oregon Opportunity Grants

House Bill 5100 provides $9.7 million in additional financial aid that will make a college education more affordable in the current academic year and set aside another $10 million for future enrollment growth. The grants are money paid directly to students to help offset the cost of a college education.

There is another side to the story, too. The Senate Republican Office’s press release (pdf) cites irresponsible spending and Oregon’s deficit as a failure of the closed legislative session.

Another item to note from this session is that SJR 41 (the bill asking if the state legislature should be in session every year, rather than every other year) passed both the house and the senate, and will be sent to Oregon voters to decide if this will become state legislative practice. Read the whole bill here.

If you’re interested in reading all press releases from the Oregon State Legislature, you may peruse them here. (They are what help me keep up with all things state legislature oriented!)

Public Access Policy Comments

You may remember that the federal Office of Science Technology and Policy was requesting input regarding the expansion of Public Access Policies. Since the open comment period has ended the OSTP has now made available all comments made regarding the issue. Academic researchers, librarians, the public, and publishers all seem to be represented in the comments–and it makes for an interesting read.

Open Government Web Sites

In December the Obama Administration authored and released the Open Government Directive. In response, federal agencies are working to comply and make their information (including data sets, etc) open and transparent. Many of these sites are open for public comment right now. If there’s a particular agency that has data you, your patrons, or your institution use or would use, consider commenting on it. Find a list of open government web sites here.

Office of Science and Technology Policy Seeks Input

Do you work with scholarly publishing? Have you been following the Obama administration’s Open Government plan? Do you know much about the NIH Public Access Policy? Do you work with faculty members at your institution who receive federal funding? Read on to learn more about something exciting that’s happening right now.

As a bit of background, the NIH Public Access Policy requires any researcher who publishes articles about NIH funded work, to submit final versions of their manuscripts to PubMed Central. These manuscripts are then made freely available to the public, in an effort to allow the public access to the research that their tax dollars are funding.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), an office within the White House, currently has a Request for Information (RFI) out to the public. The RFI (pdf) is seeking answers to some in-depth questions about how Public Access Policies might expand to other federal branches of funding. That means that researchers who have funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or other federal entities might be interested in providing their feedback.

What’s more we, as academic librarians, will have a lot to contribute to this conversation. SPARC has some Public Access Resources on their web site that will be of help to you in understanding the issues from a library perspective.

Feedback is being collected in a few ways. First, the public is invited to respond in comment form to one of three blog posts that will be hosted on the OSTP blog. The first that asks about Implementation is already up. The following two will ask questions on Features and Technology (December 21-31) and Management (January 1-7). The other way to provide feedback is by e-mailing your response to publicaccess@ostp.gov.

The original comment ending period until January 7th has been extended to January 21st. Consider letting your research faculty know about this important and exciting time for us to help shape the future of Public Access Policies. And please feel free to ask me any questions you might have about this!