public access to research

Agencies push public access with new article repositories

There is good news for researchers and analysts looking for research papers produced or sponsored by the government.  The National Institute for Standards and Technology will be establishing a “free-to-read” repository of academic articles. 

NIST’s public access plan is aimed to comply with policy directives from the White House regarding open access to the results of research funded by the federal government.  The agency will partner with the National Institutes of Health to use the existing PubMed Central as the repository of full-text peer-reviewed scholarly publications for NIST, leveraging the search, archival and dissemination features of PMC.

Articles with research and reporting funded by NIST will be archived for free on an NIST server beginning in October 2016.  However, access to archived journal articles will begin only after a 12-month embargo from the date of the paper’s publication. 

NIST’s plan for providing public access to data consists of three components:

Data management plans providing documentation of plans for storage, archival and accessibility for NIST’s multiple types of data.

An enterprise data inventory, which is a catalog of the datasets that are generated via NIST-sponsored research that will let researchers link those datasets to the scientific literature and other datasets.

A common access platform that will deliver a production-level infrastructure populated with persistent identifiers and metadata for all publicly available NIST data, and will provide for interoperability within NIST and potentially with other federal agencies.

The Department of Energy signed an agreement with CHORUS, the Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States, to provide indexing and public access to research articles that acknowledge DOE funding. CHORUS will supply an ongoing feed of DOE-affiliated journal article metadata and links to full-text articles on publisher websites.  “Formalizing this collaboration can only propel our acquisition process leading to more comprehensive coverage of the landscape of articles,” Jeffrey Salmon, of the Department of Energy Office of Science, wrote in a related blog post.

NASA and the Department of Defense are also adapting online databases to host unclassified research articles.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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