Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Part 3: Open Access and Grant Funders

by Vicky Ludas Orlofsky

To mark Open Access Week 2015, this week you’ll see a series of posts about different aspects of the Open Access movement in publishing.

Many funders of academic research, both federal and nonprofit, have become very interested in increasing access to the results of the research they fund. Here I will look at examples of federally-funded granting agencies as well as independent nonprofits. There is a difference in both the terminology of government-funded and independently funded work, and in the accessibility to that work. Federal agencies require public access to research, which is not always the same as open access. Public access requires that the public be able to read it, but not reuse or modify it as the open access movement advocates. What this usually works out to is that articles are published in traditional journals (unless the author chooses a gold OA journal) and then deposited in a green OA repository for read-only access following an embargo (if applicable). OA archiving is the most common form of required accessibility for both nonprofit and federal grant agencies, while publishing in OA journals is occasionally encouraged but not required.

One way to find out what your prospective funder may require is the SHERPA/JULIET research funders' open access policies database, which includes international and national grant funders and can be searched by name or country.

Federally funded research
The National Institutes of Health began mandating public access to the publications resulting from the research they funded in 2008. This led to the expansion of PubMed, a citation and sometimes full-text database of biomedical and life sciences articles. Articles mandated to be included in PubMed are often subject to an embargo imposed by the publishers of those articles, meaning that while the citation will appear, there can be a delay of 6 months or longer in accessing the full-text of the article.

Following the example set by the NIH, in 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued the executive memorandum “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” (PDF) stating that all government agencies with research budgets of $100 million or more must develop a plan to make the results of that research (article and data) available to the public. This directive was reinforced by HR 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (section 527, 2014; refers to Departments of HHS and Education). The agencies have since started submitting and implementing their public access plans. Columbia University Libraries has a great chart listing the agencies and the progress made thus far:   Public access mandates for federally funded research: implementation plans.

One example is the the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), wherein, as of Oct. 1, 2015, all peer-reviewed publications funded partly or totally by NASA, either the author’s final version or the published version, must be made available on the NASA archive within PubMed. Archiving must occur when the article is accepted for publication, and the article can be embargoed for no longer than 12 months. “Publications that contain material governed by personal privacy, export control, proprietary restrictions or national security are excluded” (SHERPA/JULIET: NASA). Articles must include metadata, and the metadata must include a link to the published article. As for data, a Data Management Plan is required in each grant application, and “digital unclassified scientific research data” must be deposited in a repository and the NASA Archives. See the full NASA implementation plan here.

Nonprofit funders
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made headlines in 2014 when they announced their adoption of an OA policy. The OA policy took effect in January 2015 and required that publications be deposited in findable repositories, published CC BY 4.0 or equivalent, made open and accessible immediately (though a two-year transition period allows for publisher embargoes until Jan. 1, 2017, at which point no embargo will be accepted), and that the data made open and immediately accessible as well. The foundation would any associated fees, meaning that the Article-Processing Charge and any other fees are now written into the grant budget.

Other large nonprofits that require or encourage OA deposit are the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. For a full list, see SHERPA/JULIET (sorted by country).

As a result of the worldwide OA movement, it has become imperative that prospective grantees understand the requirements for accessibility to publications and data that their awards may entail. The federal agencies and nonprofit organizations that fund research have begun to see the benefits of making that research available to a much wider audience, which likely includes potential future grantees yet to come.

More information can be found at the Library’s Open Access Research Guide.

Questions? Comments? Contact Vicky Ludas Orlofsky.

Next: where to find OA engineering research online.


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