Monday, February 9, 2015 News

Second U.S. Federal Agency Releases Public Access Policy Plan

Open Access   ·   Open Data

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today became the second federal agency/department to release its plan for a policy ensuring public access to articles and data resulting from its funded research, as required by the February 2013 White House directive.  The full policy has not yet been released, but AHRQ notes that it will be posted to its website once it has been finalized.

The AHRQ plan includes provisions for making both articles and data resulting from its funded research publicly available. The article provisions closely resemble those in the policy currently in place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), requiring AHRQ-funded researchers to deposit articles into the PubMed Central database, to made freely available to the public no later than 12 months after publication in a peer reviewed journal.

The data provisions include notable language outlining AHRQ’s definition of what constitutes research data (and is therefore covered by the policy), as well as a requirement that any data directly related to an AHRQ-funded research publication be made freely publicly accessible on the day of the article’s publication.

The plan also includes a very useful section that lays out in detail the Agency’s expectations for the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders – from the AHRQ Director to AHRQ researchers and authors – in terms of ensuring compliance with the policy.  The Agency appears to be placing a premium on ensuring compliance from the day the policy will go into effect (October 15, 2015), as it has adopted the same strong mechanisms that NIH currently uses, including the potential withholding of renewal or new funds if a research fails to deposit AHRQ-funded articles or data.

The AHRQ plan releases follows that of the Department of Energy, which made its public access plans public in late 2014.

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