Does the White House OA directive make FASTR irrelevant?

If you’ve been following the national open access news, you probably noticed that the White House’s directive to federal agencies to implement open access policies was announced very shortly after the FASTR open access bill was introduced.  And you probably wondered about the relationship of the directive to FASTR. Does the directive make FASTR irrelevant? Does FASTR make the directive unnecessary? No, says open access expert Peter Suber: “The two approaches complement one another.”

Here are a few highlights from Suber’s excellent clarification of the relationship between the directive and FASTR:

  • “FASTR does not make the White House directive unnecessary. FASTR may never be adopted. And if it is adopted, it will be after some time for study, education, lobbying, amendment, negotiation, and debate. By contrast, the White House directive takes effect today.”
  • “Similarly, the White House directive does not make FASTR unnecessary. On the contrary, we need legislation to codify federal OA policies. The next president could rescind today’s White House directive, but could not rescind legislation.”
  • “Both ask a wide range of federal funding agencies to require OA for the results of the research they fund. But the new directive applies to more agencies. . . . FASTR applies to about 11 agencies and the directive to about 19. Among the agencies omitted by FASTR but covered by the directive are USAid and the Smithsonian Institution.”
  • “Both put a limit on permissible embargoes, but the directive allows longer embargoes. FASTR caps embargos at six months, and the directive caps them at 12 months.”
  • “FASTR is silent on data, but the White House directive requires OA for articles (Section 3) and OA for data (Section 4).”

On its own, the White House directive is fantastic.  Combined with FASTR, it can be much, much better.

So, no, they don’t make each other irrelevant.

And, yes, please keep doing everything you can do to increase FASTR’s chances of success.  The Alliance for Taxpayer Access explains how.


2 Replies to “Does the White House OA directive make FASTR irrelevant?”

  1. This is really helpful, Jill–thanks! While standing with Polly near aforementioned water cooler, I will be chatting this up.

    I’m still in shock about the White House OA directive and thrilled about it as well. Getting behind FASTR clarifies what I can do to support even more awesome next steps.

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