ARL Awarded Grant to Continue Research on Institutional Expenses for Public Access to Research Data

The US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), in collaboration with Duke University, the University of Minnesota, and Washington University in St. Louis, all of whom are members of the Data Curation Network (DCN), a $741,921 National Leadership Grant to examine institutional expenses for public access to research data. This research builds upon ARL’s existing Realities of Academic Data Sharing initiative.

Public access to research data is critical to advancing science, solving real-world problems, and supporting research integrity. In recent years, a number of funding agencies and publishers have required the management and broad sharing of research data and other related research outputs to accelerate and expand the impacts of their investments. Research institutions, and the research libraries at these institutions, have invested in and developed infrastructure and services to support researchers in meeting these requirements. These services and infrastructures are not only housed in the library, but are spread across the institution, in various administrative units, such as campus IT, the research office, and institutes and research centers. Given the growth in demand, its distributed nature, and functional nuance, the costs of public access to research data and data sharing are not well understood. The many unknowns about the institutional landscape for funded research-data sharing hamper collaborations and institutional ability to plan and budget appropriately.

“Academic and research libraries have made significant investments in support of federal agency requirements for public access to research data, yet have little institutional data about these services, infrastructure, and costs,” said ARL Vice President/President-Elect Trevor A. Dawes, vice provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware. “Funding agencies, institutions, and organizations must understand the local landscape and the required investments necessary to optimize public access to research data. This research helps to further our understanding of these investments.”

Building upon ARL’s previous National Science Foundation grant, this work will expand research into the expense and service models for public access to research data by digging deep into the expenses within an institution (including campus IT, the research office, centers and institutes, and libraries) and recruiting a diverse set of five institutions to participate in the next round of research. As an incentive for participating, these five institutions will receive a no-cost two-year membership in the DCN and access to a full-time DCN employee to assist with local, institutional research-data services outreach and service development.

Grant funds will be used for community building, research-team staffing, and tools and technology.