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Abstract Thinking
The National Science Foundation (NSF or Foundation) has developed a plan outlining a framework for activities to increase public access to scientific publications and digital scientific data resulting from research the foundation funds. The plan, entitled "Today's Data, Tomorrow's Discoveries," is consistent with the objectives set forth in the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Feb. 22, 2013, memorandum, "Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research," and with long-standing policies encouraging data sharing and communication of research results.

As outlined in section 3.1 of the plan, NSF requires that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions must:

  • Be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF;

  • Be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication;

  • Possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication;

  • Be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and

  • Be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.

This NSF requirement applies to new awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after the effective date of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) issued on January 25, 2016.

This recommended change to the PAPPG was announced in the Federal Register on May 12, 2015 and followed government-wide procedures for public notice and comment.

NSF's current data management plan requirement and policies on costs of publication and data citation in biographical sketches will remain unchanged for the present while the Foundation undertakes activities to engage the research communities around data management in support of public access goals. Additional guidance at the Foundation, directorate, division, office or program levels may become available in the future. As stipulated in section 3.a.ii of the OSTP Feb. 22, 2013, memorandum, NSF's plan (section 7.5) discusses a "mechanism for stakeholders to petition for changing the embargo period."

Additionally, as outlined in section 7.8 of NSF's Public Access plan, the Foundation has developed interoperability with another Federal agency, the Department of Energy, Office of Science and Technical Information (DOE/OSTI). Beginning in the spring of 2018, this integration will allow authors of publications funded by both agencies (NSF and DOE) to deposit the final accepted version of their manuscript one time, thus reducing burden on the investigators and awardees. Authors who have successfully deposited an eligible publication in DOE/OSTI's system will now be able to seamlessly make their publication available through NSF-PAR. The publications also will be available to NSF Program Officers via the Foundation's internal electronic systems.

To receive updates on NSF's Public Access Initiative, events, and future enhancements to and/or FastLane, subscribe to "System Updates" on the NSF listserv. To subscribe, simply email and you will be automatically enrolled. For general information about NSF, including information on the Public Access Initiative, sign up for email notifications at: NSF Updates.

See also NSF's Open Government website.

See also Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results.

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.