The Library can help UChicago researchers meet government funders’ access requirements

New U.S. government policies are being designed to enable unfettered public access to the results of federally funded research. These policies will create new requirements for UChicago researchers receiving federal grants. Experts in scholarly communications and digital scholarship at the University of Chicago Library can provide advice and services that will help to meet these requirements and make data and research findings freely available around the world.

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In a memorandum released in late August 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) calls on all federal funding agencies to develop public access policies in accordance with the following recommendations:

  • Enable free public access to peer-reviewed publications of federally funded research via agency-designated repositories immediately upon publication.
  • Enable free public access to the underlying data as soon as the results of the federally funded research are published.
  • Ensure scientific and research integrity by making citation information and persistent identifiers about the outputs of federally funded research publicly available.
  • Enhance equity in the publishing of and access to the publications and underlying data from federally funded research, especially among early-career researchers and individuals with underserved backgrounds.
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Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will implement a Data Management and Sharing Policy on January 25, 2023, that will require grant applicants to include a data management and sharing (DMS) plan in their proposals if applicable. Funded researchers will be expected to manage and share scientific data as described in their approved DSM plans and as a term and condition of their awards. The policy aims to increase the availability of scientific data generated by NIH-funded research, which will support validation of research results and contribute to innovative reuse of collected data.

“Research funders across the world are increasing their requirements for open access and research data management,” says Torsten Reimer, University Librarian and Dean of the University Library. “This can make it challenging for researchers to understand the often varying policies. The University Library offers advice and a range of services to help you make your research openly available, whether you have funding or not.”

For the data requirements, UChicago Library has set up DMPTool to guide UChicago researchers to think through activities involved in managing and sharing research data. Librarians are available for consultation to assist researchers with file naming and versioning, data description, and options for data sharing. A guide is updated regularly to inform researchers of recommended practices of and online resources for DMS.

Moreover, the Library manages Knowledge@UChicago, a digital repository that provides seamless access to the University’s research outputs and scholarly work. UChicago researchers can deposit their datasets and publications in the repository in compliance with funders’ access policies. Items available from Knowledge@UChicago are assigned a digital object identifier (DOI) to facilitate citation in scholarly literature.

Meanwhile, the Library has entered into transformative agreements with select publishers that enable UChicago faculty, students, and staff to publish their research as open access (OA) journal articles without an article processing charge (APC). The journals covered by the agreements span a broad spectrum of disciplines, from Philosophy and Sociology to Optical Microsystems and Global Public Health. Almost 180 UChicago corresponding authors have published OA articles for free in the first nine months of 2022 thanks to the agreements.

Dr. Jon Grant, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at UChicago, has recently published two OA articles under the auspices of the agreements. “As a clinical researcher, I feel my research directly affects the lives of people who struggle with mental illness,” Grant said. “Open access publications allows clinicians and other researchers to be able to read my research for free and thereby reaches a larger audience. Having the University of Chicago cover the fees of open access allows my research to thrive and in turn means my work has the potential to help more people.”

The Library is committed to supporting the UChicago community regarding the compliance with research funders’ policies while ensuring open, equitable, and worldwide access to the University’s research and scholarship. If you have questions about open access, research data management, and/or the dissemination of scholarly work, please feel free to contact the Library for assistance. Additionally, you can visit the Center for Digital Scholarship page for information about resources and services available from the Library.