New policy requires open online publication of NASA-funded research

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A new NASA policy will require articles in peer-reviewed journals and other papers in juried conference proceedings be published online within one year of original publication, in a space with free public access.

As part of this initiative, NASA-funded researchers are required to put copies of their articles and papers in one place – PubSpace, an National Institutes of Health-operated database that preserves federally funded research from several agencies.

The agency announced the new policy Tuesday and also unveiled a public access portal for resources on agency-funded research, including links to NASA data archives.

Anyone can search articles archived in PubSpace through NIH’s PubMed Central (PMC). FedScoop found 859 documents associated with NASA funding in PMC as of Wednesday’s publication.

“Making our research data easier to access will greatly magnify the impact of our research,” NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said in a statement. “As scientists and engineers, we work by building upon a foundation laid by others.”

Most peer-reviewed journals charge for copies, NASA Deputy Chief Scientist Gale Allen told FedScoop. But this new policy ensures not later than a year after publication, articles funded by NASA dollars will be made available for free.

Allen pointed out that NASA has always made an effort to make its agency-funded research accessible, but the public access portal is making that access a “one-stop shop.”

“This’ll be the first time that NASA’s had all of their publications in one place, so we estimate what our publication rate is for the agency, but this will actually be able to tell us what it is,” she said. “And we’ll be able to show even further what we’re doing with taxpayer dollars.”

NASA is also requiring grant proposals to include a data management plan so the agency knows where the underlying data to an article or report is stored and how it will be shared, Allen said. The agency also ensures the researcher is storing the data on a site that will stay active, she said.

The portal will also have training videos, Allen said. One already posted explains NASA’s Research Access Policy, and two others are in development: one about how to write a data management plan and one on how to enter an article into PubSpace.

“It’s a good management tool for us and will show we’re good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Allen said.

These efforts are one way the agency has tried to respond to a 2013 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy memo on “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research.”

“At NASA, we are celebrating this opportunity to extend access to our extensive portfolio of scientific and technical publications,” NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman said in a statement. “Through open access and innovation we invite the global community to join us in exploring Earth, air and space.”

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Agencies, data analytics, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, open data, R&D, Tech