Following the June meeting of the Executive Board, APS announced that it would be working with the federal government and journal publishers to help develop a system for scientists to access publications resulting from federally funded research.
The Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States, or CHORUS, would be an online platform that links to open access journal articles stored on publishers' servers. Developed by the American Association of Publishers, it would use publishers' existing infrastructure to comply with recent federal open access mandates.
In February, the administration's Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo that would ultimately require all scientific papers stemming from federally funded research to be available for free to anyone after an embargo period. The specific form of the policy was not spelled out in the memo, and one of the biggest open questions was whether the papers would be hosted on the publishers' websites, other non-governmental repositories or a government server akin to PubMed Central, which is managed by the National Institutes of Health.
"The OSTP memo has a set of requirements that are going to be met one way or the other. The question is how," said APS Treasurer/Publisher Joseph Serene. "We would prefer people to find papers on our own sites."
He added that he would like to see federal funds spent on science research rather than on maintaining a server for journal articles, similar to those already maintained by the publishers. "Publishers have been hosting their content for a long time; we know how to do this."
A significant feature of CHORUS is a central web portal through which researchers can link to open access articles stored on the publishers' servers. The CHORUS website would cross-reference metadata of the papers to make them more easily discoverable.
A new standardized metadata tag that identifies the funding source of research has been developed. Everyone would be able to more easily track which papers received federal funding and are therefore subject to the requirements outlined in the OSTP memo.
The inclusion of the funding information is as effortless as possible for the authors.
"All they have to do is put the proper acknowledgement in their paper and they're done," Serene said. If all goes well, it is likely that a proof of concept version of CHORUS will be running by the end of summer and a full version by the end of the year.
In another action by the Executive Board, APS decided not to participate in the proposed SCOAP3 open access initiative. Based at CERN in Geneva, the initiative intends to redirect institution subscription revenue to participating publishers to make high-energy physics papers available open access.
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Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella