Argentine legislators approve open access law

Argentina is nationalising its science output, following last month’s nationalisation of energy company YPF. Only this time, the benefits should be international. On 23 May the house of representatives, Argentina’s lower house, approved a bill that would require the results of all scientific research conducted at the Argentina’s National System for Science and Research or by researchers funded by it to be made freely available in an online depository.

The bill would also require publication of primary data from such studies within five years. The country’s National Digital Repository System, founded in 2009, will create a common system for accessing all data and publications subject to the law. The bill must next pass through Argentina’s senate and its executive branch.

Such legislation is still uncommon at a national level, but some governments, including in the UK, have begun making plans for requiring open access publishing of science they fund, as Nature reported earlier this month (see ‘Key questions in the UK’s shift to open-access research‘). UK science minister David Willetts told the Publisher’s Association in London that “We need to have far more research material freely available.” Americans, whose National Institutes of Health already requires researchers to deposit their research papers in an open repository within 6 months of publication, are petitioning the White House to expand the programme to include other taxpayer-funded research. The petition had over 16,000 signatures after two weeks and a target of 25,000 by mid-June.

The European Commission may also be lending its support to open access publishing, reports  the Times Higher Education. Next month, the Commission should issue its policy on publishing research funded by its 7-year Horizon 2020 funding program. With an annual budget of over €11 billion, Horizon 2020 is one of the largest research funders in the world, and one of the few which operate internationally, so its influence could be important.

See this blog post where it was first published at Nature News [html]

UPDATE 31.5.12: Spain’s national science law, passed in June 2011, has an open access requirement [article 37: PDF]. I am still looking for other examples of national-level requirements.