NSF Joins The Open Access CHORUS; DoD Ventures Out On Its Own

Yesterday the National Science Foundation (NSF) released its open access plan for the research it funds (H/T ScienceInsider).  It follows the release of the Department of Defense (DoD) open access plan earlier this week.

These agencies join the Department of Energy and NASA, among others, in releasing open access plans and developing associated infrastructure.  Of course, the National Institutes of Health was first to this party, with the other agencies following suit after a 2013 memo from The Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Department of Defense plan is a proposed plan.  The agency will release the plan in the Federal Register for public comment, a process that will take roughly 2 years.  In August of this year the agency will update its plans before proceeding to implementation.  The Department will rely on the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) for developing and/or expanding the relevant infrastructure for storing and/or accessing applicable research publications and digital data sets (the latter will not be stored at DTIC, but at other repositories and linkable via the DTIC system).  The DTIC will also handle the associated metadata and track usage.

The goal is to start accepting voluntary author submissions under this policy by the end of the calendar year.  Full compliance is not likely prior to 2017.  Articles will need to be submitted within 12 months of journal publication.

The NSF plan follows in the footsteps of the Department of Energy, at least for now.  It will start applying to grants awarded in January 2016, and also require publications to be submitted within 12 months of journal publication.  (Grant applicants are already required to submit a data management plan, which covers how access will be granted to digital scientific data associated with NSF-funded research.)

Working with the Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, NSF will utilize the PAGES system that the Department of Energy is using for its open access plan.  NSF may opt to develop and/or use additional repositories for its research articles in the future, but I think that the agency will wait to do that until the PAGES system is fully implemented and operational.

PAGES is set up to link interested parties to the ‘best available version’ of a scholarly publication.  That is considered the version available on the publisher’s website, meaning CHORUS will likely be used to make the connections.  PAGES will store articles in its own system if they are not available through a publisher’s website.  Personally, I prefer having repositories as the may contact for public access, but these distributed systems are better than the nothing that existed before.


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