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Federal Agency Public Access Compliance

A Research Guide summarizing the Federal public access policies resulting from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum of February 2013.

Implementation Timeline: NSF

Publications Implementation: January 2016. Voluntary submission starting by the end of the 2015 calendar year.

Data Implementation: January 2016. Voluntary submission starting by the end of the 2015 calendar year.


Compliance Monitoring: NSF

Notes regarding compliance:

  • Deposit of journal articles and juried conference papers in the NSF public access repository will ensure public access, subject to the terms of the embargo. The system will be configured to require submission of journal articles and juried conference papers as prerequisite for preparing annual and final reports.
  • Only journal articles and juried conference papers that have been deposited in the public access repository can be included in annual and final reports, and Cognizant Program Officers will only see public access compliant journal articles and juried conference papers. Thus, the system ensures compliance with the public access requirement as a function of reporting.
  • DMPs are required as a component of proposal submission. NSF’s FastLane system will not permit submission of a proposal that does not include a Data Management Plan. Proposals that do not include a DMP are returned without review. Thus, all active awards have met the DMP requirement.
  • During the period of the award, investigators currently report the management of data as part of the annual and final reports. Large complex projects that are governed by cooperative agreements (rather than grants) include data release among the award terms and conditions. These are currently monitored by Cognizant Program Officers who also review and approve the annual and final reports.
  • Based on consultation with the research communities, NSF expects to move toward a more structured system over the next several years that will support automated checking of compliance with DMP requirements through annual and final reports. This may entail the use of identifiers and template driven approaches to preparing DMPs.


Publication and Data Repositories: NSF

Publication Repository: The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR).

Data Repository: The Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF Unit will determine the data repository for submission. If guidance specific to the program is not provided, then the requirements established in Grant Proposal Guide apply.



What is the embargo period for publications and datasets?

12 month for publications.

  • NSF will follow the recommended guideline of an embargo of up to 12 months following initial publication.
  • Practices governing use of embargos and delayed data release vary widely across the research communities supported by NSF and should be discussed as part of the DMP.
  • For large-scale projects that are supported primarily to generate data for community use, the timing of release will be part of the award terms and conditions and clearly stated in the public award abstracts.


Where can I find the full Public Access Policy?

Does this agency require a data management plan (DMP)?

NSF requires applicants for funding to prepare a DMP. The current requirement, which was a January 18, 2011 implementation of the Foundation’s long-standing data-sharing policy, specifies that proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages, labeled “Data Management Plan.” This supplement should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results as stated in the Grant Proposal Guide. 


How do I comply with the public access policy and submit a publication?

Not specified.