Change is coming – are you open to it?

This blog post is a collaboration between Paolo Mangiafico from ScholarWorks and Sophia Lafferty-Hess from the Center for Data and Visualization Sciences and the Duke Research Data Repository.

Open access journals have been around forOpen sign several decades, and almost all researchers have read them or published in them by now. Perhaps less well known are trends toward more openness in sharing of data, methods, code, and other aspects of research – broadly called open scholarship. There are lots of good reasons to make your research outputs as open as possible, and increasing support at Duke for doing it.

There are many different variants of “open” – including goals of making research accessible to all, making data and methods transparent to increase reproducibility and trust, licensing research to enable broad re-use, and engagement with a variety of stakeholders, among other things. All of these provide benefits to the public and they also provide benefits to Duke researchers. There’s growing evidence that openly available publications and data result in more citations and greater impact (Colavizza 2020), and showing one’s work and making it available for replication helps build greater trust. There’s greater potential economic impact when others can build on research more quickly, and more avenues for collaboration and interdisciplinary engagement.

Recognizing the importance of making research outputs quickly and openly available to other researchers and the public, and supporting greater transparency in research, many funding agencies are now encouraging or requiring it. NIH has had a public access policy for over a decade, and NSF and other agencies have followed with similar policies. NIH has also released a new Data Management and Sharing policy that goes into effect in 2023 with more robust and clearer expectations for how to effectively share data. In Europe, government research funders back a program called Plan S, and in the United States, the recently passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) includes provisions that instruct federal agencies to provide free online public access to federally-funded research “not later than 12 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals, preferably sooner.”

The USICA bill aims to maximize the impact of federally-funded research by ensuring that final author manuscripts reporting on taxpayer-funded research are:

  • Deposited into federally designated or maintained repositories;
  • Made available in open and machine-readable formats; 
  • Made available under licenses that enable productive reuse and computational analysis; and
  • Housed in repositories that ensure interoperability and long-term preservation.

Duke got a head start on supporting researchers in making their publications open access in 2010, when Academic Council adopted an open access policy, which since then has been part of the Faculty Handbook (Appendix P). The policy provides the legal basis for Duke faculty to make their own research articles openly available on a personal or institutional website via a non-exclusive license, while also making it possible to comply with any requirements imposed by their journal or funder. Shortly after the policy was adopted, Duke Libraries worked with the Provost’s office to implement a service making open access easy for Duke researchers. DukeSpace, a repository integrated with the Scholars@Duke profile system, allows you to add a publication to your profile and deposit it to Duke’s open access archive in a single step, and have the open access link included in your citations alongside the link to the published version.

Duke Libraries also support a research data repository and services to help the Duke community organize, describe, and archive their research data for open access. This service, with support from the Provost’s office, provides both the infrastructure and curation staff to help Duke researchers make their data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). By publishing datasets with digital object identifiers (DOIs) and data citations, we create a value chain where making data available increases their impact and positions them as standalone research objects. The importance of data sharing specifically is also being formalized at Duke through the current Research Data Policy Initiative, which has a stated mission to “facilitate efficient and quality research, ensure data quality, and foster a culture of data sharing.” Together the Duke community is working to develop services, processes, procedures, and policies that broaden our contributions to society through public access to the outputs of our research.

Are you ready to make your work open? You can find more information about how to deposit your publications and data for open access at Duke on the ScholarWorks website, and consultants from Duke Libraries’ ScholarWorks Center for Scholarly Publishing and Center for Data and Visualization Sciences are available to help you find the best place to make your work open access, choose an appropriate license, and track how it’s being used.