Researchers, are you ready for public access of your work?

September 28, 2015

Are you ready for public access to your research? VCU Libraries invites researchers to an Oct. 22 luncheon program, noon to 1 p.m., Tompkins-McCaw Library, first floor conference room to discuss the latest requirements from the Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Please sign up for lunch, which is provided at no charge. 

The program will be led by Margaret Henderson (Director of Research Data Management, VCU Libraries) and Hillary Miller (Scholarly Communications Outreach Librarian, VCU Libraries).

In 2013, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memo entitled Increasing Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research, in which OSTP Director John Holdren directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. This includes many agencies VCU researchers receive grants from such as the NIH, DOD, DOE, NSF, and NASA.

This is only the latest chapter in the US government’s support of public access to published results of federally funded research. The NIH public access policy, the forerunner of these new policies, was established ten years ago to provide public access to peer-reviewed journal articles. The NIH has already established precedent for public access to data as well through its Genomic Data Sharing Policy, an effort to accelerate the pace of genomic research through the power of combining large and information-rich datasets. The NIH public access policy was introduced on a voluntary basis in 2005 and became mandatory in 2008, with the potential to lose funding for noncompliance beginning in 2013. However, it is unlikely that this much time will elapse between the introduction of these new policies and the beginning of mandatory compliance with penalties for noncompliance, so it is important that researchers begin to prepare for the changes now.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • The importance of keeping track of the final peer-reviewed manuscript version of an article, even after a copy has been provided to the publisher.
  • Checking what author’s rights a publisher will allow the author to retain for articles and data (not the facts themselves, but the forms they may take, like tables), and not signing any agreements with publishers that do not allow the author to comply with the public access policy.
  • Including costs for open access publication and data deposit or storage in grant proposals.
  • An overview of the kinds of policies that various agencies have released: who will be using PubMed Central, and who will be creating new repositories? When will deposit in institutional repositories meet public access requirements, and when will it not?
  • Exceptions to public access policies, such as regulations protecting publications and data for national security, privacy, and other reasons.
  • The difference between public access and open access, and why researchers should consider going beyond public access and making their work even more openly available.
  • The event will also explore questions that still need to be resolved, such as what researchers must do if they have grant money from two different funders with different policies, or what role organizations like CHORUS, an organization founded to help agencies and publishers provide public access to federally funded research outputs, will play.
  • Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how to comply with new policies and what may happen if they do not. They will also better understand the resources and services VCU Libraries can offer in support of public access compliance.
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