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Scholarly Communication

Information of interest to faculty, students, administration, and librarians concerning the process of communicating research and scholarly work in the academic press (print or online; journals, books, abstracts, and conference proceedings).

Open Access Mandates

An open access mandate is a policy requiring researchers to make their research data as well as their published, peer-reviewed works (journal articles, for example) freely accessible to the public.  This policy may be set by a funding agency or by an academic institution.  Open access can be accomplished in a number of ways:  placing pre-prints or post-prints in online repositories (like BEARdocs); publishing in peer-reviewed open access journals; or publishing with traditional publishers that make articles available to non-subscribers (usually for a fee to the author).

Source: "Response to Request for Comments for Baylor University's Strategic Plan from the Baylor University Libraries Scholarly Communication Task Force"

Open Access Explained

A nice explanation of some of the issues driving the open access movement, especially in the sciences -- in the words of scholars telling their stories related to access to needed content.

University Mandates

In 2008, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University adopted a policy requiring the submission of all published articles to Harvard's institutional repository.  A growing number of major U.S. and international research institutions have followed suit by adopting similar open access mandates for their faculty publications.

The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP) provides information on the specific requirements adopted by these institutions.

Currently, Baylor's Graduate School requires all masters and doctoral students to submit their theses and dissertations to Baylor's institutional repository, BEARdocs.  Learn more about this requirement here.

Data Management and Sharing

Note: The following information pertains to research in the sciences and social sciences.

A data management plan outlines the kinds of data that will be collected over the course of a research project.  It also provides specific information on how that data will be organized and maintained, how it will be made accessible to others, and how it will be preserved over time.

Funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), require researchers to submit detailed plans on how they will manage their research data, placing emphasis on how this data will be shared with others.  

For example, the NIH's data sharing policy, released in 2003, requires the “timely release and sharing of final research data from NIH-supported studies for use by other investigators.”  Under the policy, investigators requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year must include as a supplement to the grant application a plan outlining how the final research data will be made accessible to others or provide a statement explaining why the sharing of final research data is not possible.   

  • The NIH provides guidance on the implementation of this policy here
  • Answers to frequently asked questions are available here.          

A similar policy was adopted in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

  • Find more on the NSF's data sharing policy here.
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about the NSF policy can be found here.

The DMPTool has been designed to assist researchers in creating data management plans that meet the requirements of funding agencies.  Use of the DMPTool is free.

NIH Mandate & FASTR

Note: The following information pertains to research in the sciences.

The NIH Public Access Policy, established in 2008, requires that all researchers funded in whole or in part by the NIH submit an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed journal articles to PubMed Central, the NIH’s online archive, upon acceptance for publication.  These journal articles will be made accessible to the public no later than 12 months after their date of publication.  

  • Information on how to comply with the policy can be found here
  • A list of journals that will submit the final published version of all NIH-funded articles to PubMed Central on behalf of the author can be found here.  
  • The NIH also provides answers to frequently asked questions here.

In February 2013, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in the House and Senate.  If passed, the bill would:

  • Require federal departments and agencies with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million to develop a policy to ensure researchers submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

  • Ensure that the manuscript is preserved in a stable digital repository maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.

  • Require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

  • Require agencies to examine whether introducing open licensing options for research papers they make publicly available as a result of the public access policy would promote productive reuse and computational analysis of those research papers.

For a summary of the bill, go here.

For an FAQ by SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), go here.


Requirements for Meeting Open Access Mandates

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