The US government’s spending bill for 2014 includes significant increases for the country’s major research funders and also requires research funded by the National Institutes of Health to be made open access within 12 months.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which has passed both houses of Congress, abolishes the cuts imposed by the sequestration programme, which came into effect when US politicians were unable to agree a budget last year.
The bill will see the 2014 research budget of the National Science Foundation increase by nearly 5 per cent on 2013 levels to just under $6 billion (£3.65 billion), according to the US journal Science.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Science will see its budget rise by nearly 10 per cent to just over $5 billion and Nasa’s science office will see a rise of nearly 8 per cent, also to just over $5 billion.
Meanwhile, the budget of the National Institutes of Health will rise by 3.5 per cent to just under $30 billion - though this is still more than $700m short of 2012 levels.
The NIH – though not the other agencies - is also covered by a provision in the act that requires any papers describing research it funds to be made publicly available in a “machine readable” format within 12 months of publication.
This provision mirrors a directive issued last February by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, requiring all agencies with research budgets of more than $100 million to draw up plans to make research they publish publicly available within 12 months.