Skip to Main Content

Open Access

This guide is to help UNLV authors learn about open access, article processing charges (APCs), avoiding predatory publishers, and open access policies.

About the 2022 Public access memo (the "Nelson Memo")

Also known as the Nelson Memo, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released the memorandum "Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research" in August 2022.

The memo provides all federal agencies that support research with the following recommendations:

  1. Update their public access policies as soon as possible, and no later than December 31st, 2025, to make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research publicly accessible without an embargo on their free and public release;
  2. Establish transparent procedures that ensure scientific and research integrity is maintained in public access policies
  3. Coordinate with the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) to ensure equitable delivery of federally funded research results and data

2022 Public access memo key dates

February 22, 2013: Publication of the first public access memo "Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research"

August 25, 2022: Publication of the Nelson memo "Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research"

December 31, 2024: Federal agencies must publish their public access policies.

December 31, 2025: The deadline for federal agencies' policies to be in effect.

December 31, 2026: Federal agencies must publish their updated plans to address research integrity and transparency through the collection and public availability of metadata associated with scholarly publications and data, including persistent identifiers for both the research outputs and the authors

December 31, 2027: The deadline for implementation of revised plans

Definitions of publications and data

These definitions are specific to the Nelson Memo

Peer reviewed scholarly publications

  • include peer-reviewed research articles or final manuscripts published in scholarly journals

  • may include

    • peer-reviewed book chapters

    • editorials

    • peer-reviewed conference proceedings

Scientific data

  • include the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings.

  • do not include

    • laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, case report forms, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer-reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects and materials, such as laboratory specimens, artifacts, or field notes

Importance of public access to research

Providing public access to federally funded research promotes accountability and research integrity.

Accountability to taxpayers who support the cost of conducting research in many ways

  • Federal agencies fund research (research grants)

  • Researchers may pay to publish their articles (allowable expense in research budgets)

  • Libraries pay for journal subscriptions (indirect research costs)

  • Researchers review research articles and serve on editorial boards (salary may be paid by research grant)

  • Americans pay to access published scholarly research

See the Report to the U.S. Congress on Financing Mechanisms for Open Access Publishing of Federally Funded Research (pdf).

Research integrity

"Federal agencies should take steps to ensure that public access policies support scientific and research integrity by transparently communicating to the public critical information, including that which is related to the authorship, funding, affiliations, and development status of federally funded research. The public should be able to identify which federal agencies support given investments in science, the scientists who conduct that research, and the extent to which peer-review was conducted."

Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research, p. 5. (pdf)

Explanatory (non-governmental) resources

© University of Nevada Las Vegas