Today, SPARC released a new community resource for research funders entitled, “Implementing an Open Data Policy”. This primer addresses key issues that these organizations encounter when considering the adoption and implementation of an open data policy. The guide covers big-picture topics such as how to decide on the range of activities an open data policy should cover. It also delves into areas of very specific concern, such as options for where data can be deposited, and how privacy and other concerns can be managed.
SPARC has worked with funding organizations with increasing frequency on a number of fronts recently, as interest in open access and open datahas continued to grow. The genesis of this interest is twofold. First, many funders invest in research in order to speed the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and to enhance the public good. These funders recognize that one way to attain these goals is to make their research outputs – and their supporting data – available as quickly and as openly as possible. Second, both open access and open data offer very real practical benefits for these organizations. Many of these research funders rely on private contributions to support our activities. Disseminating research outputs and data in a highly visible manner promotes sharing, discussion, and encourages follow-up science. It’s a clear way to demonstrate the effective use and stewardship of the funds entrusted to the organization
The “Implementing an Open Data Policy” guide complements recent work that SPARC has collaborated on with research funders. Earlier this year, SPARC worked closely with a key group of biomedical research funders, led by the Health Research Alliance, to develop a public access policy initiative. Research funders play a crucial role in advancing the dissemination of scholarly research and the building blocks supporting it, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with this important community.