Summary of Open Data Policy Harmonization Workshop

On October 7, 2015, SPARC, along with the Wellcome Trust, PLOS and the National Institutes of Health, convened a group of research funders, publishers, and organizations from the U.S. and Europe to explore concrete strategies for ensuring that their respective policies around sharing research outputs be as closely aligned as possible. The aim of this gathering was for a critical mass of participants to agree to a set of actions, that if committed to and implemented by our respective organizations, would create real change towards realizing the goal of open science.

Over the course of the workshop, participants received presentations by both research funders and publishers on their current approaches to making research data publicly available. Participants were then presented with two sets of working guidelines (from the JISC and the Center for Open Science), and broke into groups to discuss how existing funder and publisher policies aligned with these guidelines. The participants then reconvened to list areas where they felt better agreement of policy components was needed, and began to map out possible individual and collective actions to achieve this alignment.

At the end of the convening, a number of concrete “next steps” were agreed to by the participants. They include:

  1. Endorsing a set of immediate, practical next steps that funders could take with regard to data citation and the machine-readability of their data policies (and eventually, for data management plans themselves).
  2. The Center for Open Science committed to developing a set of TOP (Transparency and Openness Promotion) guidelines specifically focused for research funders.
  3. The group expressed a desire to develop of a set of broad guiding principles for research data policies that the community might use to promote the development and implementation of policies, both externally and internally.

The group identified a sufficiently large enough list of actionable items that they also expressed a desire to reconnect periodically – ideally, every six months – to report on the real progress being made, delegate additional action items, and ensure the broadest possible adoption of actions across the group.

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