The debate on open science and reproducible research has reached Washington, DC.
On February 22, John Holdren (Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) issued a Memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research to the heads of all federal agencies that sponsor research and development projects. The memo states
Access to digital data sets resulting from federally funded research allows companies to focus resources and efforts on understanding and exploiting discoveries. For example, open weather data underpins the forecasting industry, and making genome sequences publicly available has spawned many biotechnology innovations. In addition, wider availability of peer reviewed publications and scientific data in digital formats will create innovative economic markets for services related to curation, preservation, analysis, and visualization. Policies that mobilize these publications and data for re-use through preservation and broader public access also maximize the impact and accountability of the Federal research investment. These policies will accelerate scientific breakthroughs and innovation, promote entrepreneurship, and enhance economic growth and job creation.
The memo obliges every agency to come up with a strategy for making both scientific publications and digital scientific data resulting from Federally funded research publicly available.
On March 5, the Subcommittee on Research of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technologys held a hearing on the issue of access to data from federally funded published research. In his opening statement, Dan Lipinski, a democratic U.S. Representative from Illinois, said:
..the more data are open, the faster we will validate new theories and overturn old ones, and the more efficiently we will transform new discoveries into innovations that will create jobs and make us healthier and more prosperous. The movement toward open data is not primarily about scientific integrity, its mostly about speeding up the process of scientific discovery and innovation.
Victoria Stodden, an Assistant Professor of Statistics at Columbia University and a famous advocate for reproducible research, testified:
Making research data and software conveniently available also has valuable corollary effects beyond validating the original associated published results. Other researchers can use them for new research, linking datasets and augmenting results in other areas, or applying the software and methods to new research applications. These powerful benefits will accelerate scientific discovery. Benefits can also accrue to private industry. Again, data and software availability permit business to apply these methods to their own research problems, link with their own datasets, and accelerate innovation and economic growth.