Heard Libraries prepare for new federal mandates on publications and data management

On August 25, 2022, the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum outlining new requirements for federally funded research to be “freely available without delay.”  The updated guidelines— ‘Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research’ — eliminate the optional 12-month embargo period and require all resulting publications and scientific data to be made publicly available without embargo. Institutions have three years to address these changes. Over 50% of all Vanderbilt research will be impacted, including initiatives funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. Heard Libraries is playing a leading role in preparing campus for these changes and supporting faculty as they adapt.

In December, University Librarian Jon Shaw addressed the Faculty Senate’s Academic Planning Committee with an update on the libraries’ plan for supporting open access faculty research. According to OSTP requirements, changes can be expected to go into effect by December 31, 2025. New or groundbreaking data management practices are unlikely. However, previously “closed” publications and repositories will be expected to adapt open access publishing models.  Shaw noted, “Libraries have historically been ahead of the curve in adopting open access policies. We are well prepared with an exceptional staff and collection of resources to navigate faculty through these new and exciting changes. “Each federal agency will implement plans specific to their funding requirements. As these announcements are made, the libraries will be key communicators of those changes to campus stakeholders. Heard Libraries is already providing information on these changes through online resources that are regularly updated. Initiatives such as the deployment of an institutional repository, the pursuit of transformative licensing agreements, and the development of faculty workshops speak to the dynamic and multifaceted response of Heard Libraries to support Vanderbilt faculty.

Vanderbilt has significantly expanded its portfolio of transformative licensing agreements. These new agreements cover the cost of publishing research in prestigious, reputable journals using an open access licensing agreement without the burden of additional costs to departments or individual faculty.  Transformative agreements are not only a cost-saving measure for the university, but also a means of support for faculty who frequently publish.

Locally, Vanderbilt University’s Institutional Repository (VUIR) is a digital repository providing open access to scholarly research at Vanderbilt University. Any Vanderbilt faculty, student or staff member may contribute materials. Over 17,000 unique items have been deposited, and faculty retain copyright. Director of Digital Scholarship Andrew Wesolek noted, “Research is a public good. When Vanderbilt’s research and research data is systematically opened, either through policy or platforms, it produces a new pipeline for scholarship to emerge.”

Vanderbilt librarians and informationists are also diligently building out a program of support for faculty in their disciplines to provide information on open access research methods and resources for pursuing a research agenda aligning with the new OSTP guidelines. This spring, library experts in the sciences and biomedical fields are hosting introductory workshops on the Open Science Framework (OSF).  These workshops are designed for grant-seeking faculty and students with funding requirements for managing research data based on open access principles. These workshops are available to all faculty and will continue to be adapted as OSTP rules are applied.