OSTP List Isn’t the Full Picture

OSTP claims to have divulged all the consultations it had for its public access policy, but internal emails show more

OSTP List Isn’t the Full Picture

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently published a list of dates and parties comprising their public consultation regarding the development of the recent Nelson memo and its shift to a zero-embargo policy.

Judging from the list, you might imagine that consultations about a public access policy change started publicly, and in May 2020.

However, materials from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show that private consultations on open science and public access — some with the same entities named in the list of public consultations — were being conducted much earlier. In some cases, dates of private meetings overlapped claimed public consultations, showing that the machinery involved in developing this policy shift was in motion early and continued to move in private even as public consultations were underway. And some communications don’t seem to fit with the idea that public consultations had been systematically conducted on the dates given.

Finally, a consistent presence in these public and private consultations was SPARC, a project of a registered lobbying firm, with employees paid by that lobbying firm.