New OA mandate from the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) just became the second US federal agency to adopt an OA mandate under the Obama White House directive of February 2013. http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/publicaccess/index.html
The first such OA mandate came from the Department of Energy (DOE). For the reasons why I found it deeply flawed, see my blog post from August 2014. https://plus.google.com/+PeterSuber/posts/ZHRXEvLoq4n
On the plus side, the AHRQ avoids one of the biggest mistakes of the DOE policy. AHRQ will use OA repositories independent of publishers. As much as it can, the DOE will use publisher-hosted OA. AHRQ will disregard CHORUS, while DOE will depend on CHORUS.
On the minus side, the AHRQ shares one of the biggest mistakes of the DOE policy. It is silent on open licensing and reuse, even though the White House guidelines explicitly require agency policies to "maximize the potential for...creative reuse." (To be more precise, the AHRQ wants reuse for data, but is silent on reuse for articles.)
We know that the White House approved the DOE policy. I can't tell yet whether it has approved the AHRQ policy. If it has, that will confirm the conclusion that +The White House
will not enforce its own guidelines. If it hasn't yet approved the new policy, and is still deliberating, then there's hope that public comments can persuade it to send agency policies back to the drawing board to comply with the reuse requirement.
Here's my quick take on the AHRQ policy strengths and weaknesses:Strengths
* The AHRQ policy does not rely on CHORUS or publisher-hosted OA. For articles, it will use PubMed Central. For data, it will outsource to a still-unnamed commercial repository.
* It covers data as well as articles.
* It wants data to be freely available at time of publication, without embargo.
* It adopts the NIH mechanism to enforce the deposit requirement, including the potential withholding of funds to non-compliant grantees.Weaknesses
* It's silent on the timing of the deposit of articles. For example, it doesn't require deposit at the time of acceptance or before the time of publication.
* It's silent on open licensing and reuse.
The AHRQ permits embargoes up to 12 months. That's a weakness, but unfortunately it's one allowed, even encouraged, by the White House guidelines.
For background, see the Obama White House directive itself from February 2013.http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ostp_public_access_memo_2013.pdf
Also see my March 2013 article on the Obama directive and FASTR. http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/10528299
Also see the AHRQ home page.http://www.ahrq.gov/#oa #openaccess #ahrq