WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a plan to ensure the Department’s Federally funded research is more open and accessible to the public, researchers, and journalists as part of a broader effort by the Biden-Harris Administration to make government data more transparent. With 17 National Laboratories and scores of programs that fund university and private research, DOE directly supports thousands of research papers per year, and, when this plan goes into effect, those findings will be available immediately and at no cost.
“Science and innovation cannot flourish in the dark—they require openness, scrutiny, and reexamination so that we can build on them to create the knowledge and technologies that will change the world,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “As one of the Federal Government’s leading sponsors of research, DOE is proud and excited to get our data and research out into the public’s hands faster and more efficiently, and we look forward to expanding and accelerating that access by engaging the American public in DOE’s mission.”
DOE’s public access plan supports the August 2022 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo that called for Federal agencies to “make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research publicly accessible without an embargo on their free and public release.” The new plan describes the steps DOE will take to enable equitable access to the unclassified and unrestricted results of its multi-billion dollar annual investments in climate, energy, environment, and basic and applied research and development.
Since 2014, when DOE released its first plan to grant the public more access to research, the Department has provided free public access to nearly 200,000 articles and accepted manuscripts and has enabled broader access to scientific data through rigorous data management planning requirements.
Key elements of the new DOE public access plan, as laid out by OSTP, will include elimination of any “embargo” period before the public gains free access to journal articles or final accepted manuscripts resulting from federal funding; immediate access to scientific data displayed in or underlying publications and expanded access to scientific data not displayed in publications; and broad adoption of persistent identifiers (PIDs) for research outputs, organizations, awards and contracts, and people.
Most requirements and guidance will be in place by the end of 2024 with implementation by the end of 2025. DOE’s model for implementing access to publications and scientific data will be similar to existing practices—for publications, through submissions of accepted manuscripts or open access articles which will be made available through DOE’s public access repository, and for data, through submission of data management and sharing plans to DOE.
Key changes include the requirement to submit accepted manuscripts or open access journal articles immediately upon publication and an increased focus on immediate and broader sharing of scientific data.
DOE has played a leading role in the assignment and use of PIDs among Federal research agencies, and the new plan builds on this record and expands DOE’s support of PIDs for research outputs, such as data and software, research and sponsoring organizations, and for researchers themselves. DOE will work internally, and with other agencies, to develop options for PIDs for research and development awards and contracts and will update its public access plan when those details are finalized.
The Department engaged with numerous communities in developing its plan and will continue to encourage participation and input from researcher communities, libraries, professional societies, publishers, Federal agency partners, and the public.