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Data Management & Sharing

What does my funder require?

Most federal agencies and many private foundations have established requirements that grantees must openly share the results of their research with the public. These requirements vary, but many funders expect that both publications and data are made available, with flexibility in cases of copyright, privacy, or other ethical or legal concerns. Note that "public" typically does not mean "available by request," but rather that researchers should proactively share their articles and data through public data portals and funder databases such as PubMed Central.

Three excellent resources offer information on specific funder requirements:

Open Access Publishing

Your data management or data sharing plan (or another section of your grant application) may include information regarding where and under what terms you will publish your findings. Some funders require a version of these publications to be made publicly available online. While some funders and publishers make this process relatively seamless, others do not, and all PIs should double-check that they are complying with any relevant policies.

  • Does your funder have an open access policy requiring that any publications stemming from your project be shared publicly? If yes, does the funder recommend/require a specific system where you can deposit your publication(s)?
  • See if you can find information regarding your likely publishers’ policies on open access. For instance, some publishers will make the final article or book openly available, but sometimes require a fee (known as an article processing charge or subvention) to do this. Many journals allow you to freely disseminate the "author's accepted manuscript," a version of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript without the typesetting and other formatting shown in the published journal. 
  • If you publish in an open access venue or pay a fee to make your work openly available, you may also be prompted to choose a specific Creative Commons license to help others understand how they may use/share your work without explicitly asking you for permission each time. See the list of licenses and a helpful flowchart to choose a license.
  • Are you interested in depositing your articles in the Cardinal Scholar institutional research repository, which maximizes discoverability of faculty and student scholarship? The University Libraries strongly recommends this, and staff can assist you with this step.

Funding for data sharing & open access

It's crucial to plan early on how you will comply with your funder's data management expectations and public access requirements for data and publications. Most funders allow you to include money in your budget proposal to cover expenses like article processing charges, data storage, staff responsible for data management, etc.

If at all possible, you should include funding for likely fees in your grant budget. If you do not have access to such funds or you publish after your grant period is over, you may be able to meet your funder's requirements in one of two ways:

  • Apply to the Ball State SPA Reprint/Publication Support program, which now allows researchers to be reimbursed for up to $500 to help cover the cost of open access publication.
  • Check to see if your publisher allows distribution of the peer-reviewed "author's accepted manuscript." Many publishers allow this version of the article (which is typically identical to the final article, without the layout/typesetting) to be shared in noncommercial databases.