Public Access

What is public access and how does it relate to scholarly communication?

A growing number of private foundations and governmental agencies require that funded research be made publicly available for reading, downloading and text mining. This has been a global trend for quite a while. In the U.S., a notable move in this direction came in 2013, when the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo, which outlines the goal that “…the direct results of federally funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community. Such results include peer-reviewed publications and digital data.” In other words, the results of research funded by US federal agencies and private foundations must be made available freely for public consumption. The time frame for this access can vary, but the National Science Foundation has set the following example through their Public Access Plan:

“NSF will require that either the version of record or the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions described in the scope above (Section 2.0) and resulting from new awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after the January 2016 effective date 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 (Section 7.3.1);
  • Be managed to ensure long-term preservation (Section 7.7); and
  • Be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a unique persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.

What does this mean for Dartmouth researchers?

Dartmouth researchers whose work is funded by federal agencies and private foundations must follow the public access requirements set forth by the OSTP. More information about funders’ public access plans and requirements can be found on the Dartmouth Library Tools for Funding & Broader Impact section of the Scholarly Publishing & Communication Research Guide.

Openly available resources and projects that have emerged in response to these requirements:

CHORUSCHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States) “is a suite of services and best practices that provide a sustainable solution for agencies and publishers to deliver public access to published articles reporting on U.S. funded research.” When authors submit their paper to publishers participating in CHORUS, they simply need to indicate their funding sources. The article will then be tagged with the Crossref Open Funder Registry service, which will trigger free public access of the best available version.

share-logo-140x105SHARE (Shared Access Research Ecosytem) is a project of the ARL, the Center for Open Science, and two associations representing US public university leadership. SHARE is building a free, open data set about research and scholarly activities across their life cycle. The SHARE plan works by “adopting a common, brief set of metadata requirements and exposing that metadata to search engines and other discovery tools” to create a “federated, consensus-based system” of existing university-based digital repositories.


ORCID can help authors indicate their funding sources with publishers. ORCID is “an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers.” Not only does it disambiguate authors with like names, it also is a place where author can identify their funding sources. Submitting a publication with an ORCID id makes it easier for services like CHORUS to connect publications with federal funding. Some publishers now require authors to create an ORCID before submitting their publication for this reason.

Current Dartmouth resources to help meet the public access requirements include:

dmptoolThe Data Management Plan Tool, customized for Dartmouth, makes it easier to create a strong data management plan that meets current federal requirements. For consultation on data management, see Data Management and Resource Sharing Plans.

*Library and OSP staff are available to assist with public access and data management requirements as needed.

Dartmouth resources to help meet the public access requirements include:

The Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy provides for scholarly journal articles to be made open access in the long term via the institution’s digital repository, the Dartmouth Digital Commons (DAC). Until DAC is complete, Dartmouth scholars can make their federally funded research available within discipline-specific, open repositories such as PubMed Central or Researchers may also choose to publish their work in Open Access Journals such as PLOS ONE. Other open access journals can be found on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).