AERA Joins Scholarly Publishers on Letter to President Trump Regarding Potential Executive Order on Open Access Policy
AERA Joins Scholarly Publishers on Letter to President Trump Regarding Potential Executive Order on Open Access Policy

December 2019

On December 18, a coalition of 63 scholarly organizations, including AERA, sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express concerns about a potential executive order that would eliminate the 12-month public access embargo on peer-reviewed journal articles supported by federally funded research.  

The aim of the letter was to defer shifting to a fully open access model without a period for designed consideration and discussion of various models and mechanisms for doing so and the cost implications of each.

“AERA signed on to the letter as a long-standing supporter of open access, but also being aware that rapid change without input from diverse stakeholders—including scholars who may incur new publication fees—is not a wise approach,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “Thorough assessment and consultation are needed before undertaking a further major step.”

Levine noted that AERA supported the adoption of the 12-month embargo period and current federal open policy in 2013, after substantial and meaningful input from stakeholders across sectors.

“We strongly supported that change and the move then from essentially a policy of no open access to one supportive of open access, and we still do,” said Levine. “We believe that an even more open policy is feasible and potentially even desirable, but we urge, as in the past, that there be an open period of input to arrive at optimal feasible solutions.”

Levine noted that it is important for stakeholders to consider the costs to societies of publishing research content and the role of journal revenue in (1) supporting other association programs designed to advance research and knowledge dissemination and (2) containing other association costs, such as membership and conference fees. 

AERA has undertaken many actions and activities to support open access in publishing:

  • AERA developed and has published AERA Open as a fully open access journal since 2015.
  • AERA has provided Educational Researcher as an open access product freely available to all through the AERA website since 2001.
  • AERA offers full and free open access to its online paper repository, consisting largely of AERA Annual Meeting papers from authors who opt to participate. Metadata for all papers are provided.
  • All authors of AERA publications have the opportunity to provide open access links to their published articles through their own accessible vitas or on their own websites. This opportunity is available to authors whether or not their research had the benefit of federal funding.
  • All authors can pay a fee to un-gate their published work immediately upon publication in AERA journals, without a period of delay.
  • As a member of the relatively new Americas Education Research Network, AERA is taking a lead in collaborating with other scientific societies and research organizations across the Americas in developing a new open access journal platform directed to education research issues in the Americas and to education research scholars, with a major emphasis on the Global South. We are working on the design of a viable financial plan.
  • AERA has two new programmatic initiatives directed to supporting open knowledge that we anticipate will enhance the accessibility and valuing of open knowledge products and stimulate new networks of scholarly communication and collaboration.

Anyone who is interested in continuing dialogue on this issue is encouraged to contact Executive Director Levine at, or join AERA at relevant sessions at the AERA Research and Science Policy Forum at the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.


For additional resources, visit AERA’s Open Access Portal.

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