Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

ARL task force endorses open access and open data

ARL Joint Task Force on Library Support for E-Science, Agenda for Developing E-Science in Research Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, November 2007.  (Thanks to Clifford Lynch.)  Excerpt:

E-science has the potential to be transformational within research libraries by impacting their operations, functions, and possibly even their mission. Recognizing this potential, the ARL [Association of Research Libraries] Steering Committees for Scholarly Communication and for Research, Teaching, and Learning jointly appointed a task force in 2006 to address the emergent domain of e-science....

Government agencies such as NSF and NIH play a key role in setting policy. One area of particular resonance for the research library community relates to data policies. For example, NSF’s current position on data indicates “all science and engineering data generated with NSF funding must be made broadly accessible and usable, while being suitably protected and preserved. Through a suite of coherent policies designed to recognize different data needs and requirements within communities, NSF will promote open access to well-managed data…. In addition to addressing the technological challenges inherent in the creation of a national data framework, NSF’s data policies will be designed as necessary to mitigate existing sociological and cultural barriers to data sharing and access….” (NSF 2007).

Regarding the data-intensive and data-driven aspects of e-science, NIH policy supports the concept of sharing data that is produced as a result of NIH-funded projects....

Into this mix, the US House of Representatives in July 2007 approved language supporting public access to the results of research funded by NIH.... [PS: This language became law on December 26, 2007.]

Just as the open access movement has prompted libraries to engage in policy discussions about open and sustainable access to scientific journal literature, so too the open data movement will prompt libraries to understand the implications and advantages of models that encourage unfettered access to data, where appropriate. SPARC has been a leader in raising awareness of the need for open access to support the sharing, review, and publication of research results. Efforts are also taking shape through programs such as the Science Commons to provide licensing models that remove barriers to the sharing of information, tools, and data within the scientific research cycle....

See especially Appendix B: Model Principles for Research Library Roles in E-Science (pp. 21-22, drafted by Chuck Humphrey, "with edits from task force members"):


1. Open Access: Research libraries will support open access policies and practices regarding scientific knowledge and e-science. Barriers will be removed that impede or prevent open access to research outputs, and consequently that restrict the potential linkage of outputs to the data upon which research findings are based.

2. Open Data: Access to open data is a movement supported by research libraries, taking into consideration the ethical treatment of human-subject data....

Update.  See Dorothea Salo's comments on the report's position on institutional repositories.