Playing by the new rules
A White House memorandum released last week is shaking up the academic community: Researchers who receive grants from large government agencies will soon be required to make their data and publications freely available to the public.
The change represents a huge step forward for the open-access movement and possibly a huge change for Cornell researchers, according to the library's senior policy adviser, Peter Hirtle -- and the library is well positioned to help.
"Cornell already has a lot of component parts that may be part of the solution," Hirtle said, including groups such as the universitywide Research Data Management Service Group, which serves as a hub for information and advice on data issues, and the library's Digital Consulting and Production Services, which supports digital scholarship initiatives, such as repositories, open access publishing and copyright.
Over the next six months, any federal agency distributing $100 million or more annually for research and development must create guidelines that would require researchers to make versions of publications resulting from the funding publicly available, generally within 12 months of publication. In addition, the data they generate with grant funds must also be publicly available.
At least 11 government agencies -- including including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy; the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and U.S. Agency for International Development -- are included in the new mandate.
Many Cornell researchers are "ahead of the curve" when it comes to openness, Hirtle added, and may already be meeting the requirements that funding agencies will eventually establish.