New Guidance on Open Access to Federally Funded Research: How ACSM's Newest Journal is Positioned to Help

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New Guidance on Open Access to Federally Funded Research: How ACSM's Newest Journal is Positioned to Help

Gary Liguori, Ph.D., FACSM |  Aug. 29, 2022

man wearing a VO2 testing mask on a treadmillEarly in 2022, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), in conjunction with publishing partner Wolters Kluwer, announced the launch of a new research journal, Exercise, Sport, and Movement (ESM). ESM represents ACSM’s first-ever open access journal, thereby making its content free to anyone interested in the subject matter. As the person selected to be ESM’s Inaugural Editor-in-Chief, I have since fielded many questions about open access, particularly, “why should I publish in an open access journal?” Fast-forward to August 25, 2022, when the White House released a significant announcement dictating that all future taxpayer funded research, and the resulting dissemination of such research, shall be freely available to U.S. taxpayers without further delay.

Practically speaking, what this means is that all current and future federally funded research results must be published in an open access journal, like ESM. Part of the argument for this change is that U.S. taxpayers fund literally billions of dollars of important research, especially in the broad area of health, yet most of it sits behind paywalls for extended periods of time and is therefore not available to those same taxpayers who provide the funding. This will no longer be the case, and ESM, thanks to the foresight of ACSM and Wolters Kluwer, is perfectly positioned to begin publishing federally funded research, along with all other research, that fits the scope of the journal.

To be clear, publishing in general does not come without costs, as there are production processes necessary before the information becomes available. Open access journals move those costs from the reader to the researcher. Therefore, ESM, like all other open access journals, does have an article processing charge, or APC, however, ESM’s fees are lower than most and vary by submission type.

“When research is widely available to other researchers and the public, it can save lives, provide policymakers with the tools to make critical decisions, and drive more equitable outcomes across every sector of society,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “The American people fund tens of billions of dollars of cutting-edge research annually. There should be no delay or barrier between the American public and the returns on their investments in research.”

All federal agencies will be expected to have their respective policies updated and fully implemented by December 31, 2025. However, agencies will be expected to update their public access and data sharing plans right away, by mid-2023.

In the end, this is a monumental decision by the White House to give back to the taxpayers. At the same time, ACSM and Wolters Kluwer fully anticipated this, leading to the development and launch of ESM. Now that the OSTP has made open access the new standard, ACSM, Wolters Kluwer, and of course, ESM, are excited to be a key outlet for publishing federally funded research.

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Gary LiguoriGary Liguori, Ph.D., FACSM, is the dean of the College of Health Sciences and a professor of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island. He is the Senior Editor of the 11th edition of ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (GETP11), and the Editor-in-Chief of Exercise, Sport, and Movement.