David A. Wheeler's Blog

Sun, 28 Feb 2010

Open government: Default release as OSS and Open Access

U.S. government agencies are soliciting ideas on how to make them more transparent, participatory, collaborative and innovative.

Please support proposals to release government-funded works by default as open access (for research papers) or as open source software (for software). An example is the proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) called Public funding = Public viewing. This proposal recommends that publicly funded projects must be published as open access and all data and code shared as open source software. Please vote for this, make helpful comments, and so on. Similarly, please vote for and/or add similar proposals for other agencies where they apply.

If “we the people” pay for research and development, then “we the people” should normally get the results. I can see the need for exceptions — particularly for classified works — but those should be exceptions. In short, I think this kind of proposal makes sense.

As I’ve commented before, Government-developed Unclassified Software should by default be released as Open Source Software, and research papers produced from U.S. government funding should be open access. So please make sure that U.S. agencies know this. Thanks.

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