Public access to data used in federally funded research in peer-reviewed journals is essential for rigorous science, discovery, and the reproducibility of research. Public universities are committed to sharing the results of their research whenever possible.
APLU and AAU formed a working group on public access examining how to improve public access to data resulting from federally funded research. In 2017, the group issued a report with a series of recommendations to federal agencies aiming to increase public access to data. The report also provided guidance to public universities on how to increase public access to their research.
In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo directing federal agencies with more than $100 million in annual research spending to make the results of federally funded research available.
Not all results from federal research is subject to this disclosure. Sharing the results of classified federal research, for example, is strictly prohibited under federal law. Other limits such as so-called export controls limit what raw data, research results, and expertise researchers can share. Still other research, such as some social science, cannot be shared publicly because of privacy concerns. APLU has developed a robust policy framework for ensuring the security and integrity of research on campus. This includes protecting intellectual property and taking proactive steps to prevent undue foreign influence on research.
In 2018, APLU and AAU led a National Science Foundation-funded workshop (NSF #1837847) helping institutions develop strategic plans for making data resulting from federally funded research publicly available. The workshop provided a venue for learning, sharing, and planning to support research universities as they implement systems for public access to research data. The two associations issued a report chronicling learning from the workshop. The report highlights three elements from university action plans developed at the workshop:
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF # 1939279), AAU and APLU are leading two national Summits in 2020 to Accelerate Public Access to Research Data Initiative to help institutions develop and implement policies and practices to advance public access to research data. The initiative will generate a Guide to Accelerating Public Access to Research Data and a strategic plan for APLU and AAU to support member institutions in this work.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (1837847 and 1939279). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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