Aligning data-sharing policies: Meeting the moment | Commentary and opinion | Features | PND

“To make data sharing easier and to establish a clear baseline for what well-considered data-sharing policies should encompass, we recommend that funders:

1. Clearly specify which data grantees are required to share. Do you want grantees to share only data underlying published studies or all data generated during the funded project? Do you want raw or pre-processed data? If qualitative (not just quantitative) data are also covered by your policy, do you provide guidance for grantees on good practices for sharing qualitative data?

2. Consider incorporating code- and software-sharing requirements as a necessary extension of their data-sharing policies. To be able to reproduce results accurately and build upon shared data, researchers must not only have access to the files but also the code and software used to open and analyze data. Only then are data truly findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. The ORFG and the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS) have prepared a more detailed brief.

3. Clearly specify the required timing of data sharing. The timing will vary based on what data are to be shared and what constitutes the event that triggers the sharing requirement. If data underlie a published study, complying or aligning with new federal policies will require data to be shared immediately at the time of publication. If, however, the policy requires sharing of all data, then the timing may be tied to the award period (as the NIH requires).

4. Require grantees to deposit data in trusted public repositories that assign a persistent identifier (e.g., DOI), provide the necessary infrastructure to host and export quality metadata, implement strategies for long-term preservation, and otherwise meet the National Science and Technology Council’s Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories. To make compliance easier for grantees, funders should provide a list of approved data repositories that meet these characteristics and are appropriate for the disciplines they fund.

5. Require grantees to share data under licenses that facilitate reuse. The recommended free culture license for data is the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0). The reasoning behind this is two-fold: first, data do not always incur copyright and, therefore, reserving certain rights under other licenses may be inappropriate, and second, we should avoid attribution or license stacking that may occur as datasets are remixed and reused. Other options include the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) or ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) licenses.

6. Strongly encourage grantees to share data according to established best practices. These include, but are not limited to: a) the FAIR Principles, which outline how to share data so they are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable; b) the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance, which emphasize the importance of Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics in the context of Indigenous data, but could also inform the responsible management and sharing of data for other populations; and c) privacy rules, such as those provided under HIPAA. Funders should communicate that it is the responsibility of grantees to get the appropriate consent and ethical approval (e.g., from their institutional review board) that will allow them to collect and subsequently openly share de-identified data.

7. Allow grantees to include data sharing costs in their grant budgets. This could include costs associated with data management, curation, hosting, and long-term preservation. For many projects, data hosting costs will likely be minimal—several public repositories allow researchers to store significant amounts of data for free. For projects that will generate larger amounts of data, additional hosting costs can be budgeted. The most important cost may be the personnel time and expertise required to properly prepare data for sharing and reuse. Funders should consider increasing the allowable personnel costs to secure extra curation time for team

ORFG Shares Guidance on Open Data Policies — Open Research Funders Group

“The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to share their evidence-informed perspective on how funders and philanthropies can optimize open data policies. The piece, which appears in Philanthropy News Digest, highlights eight key steps organizations can take to ensure the data generated by grant-funded projects improve research replicability, reproducibility, and transparency.”

ORFG Releases 2022 Annual Report — Open Research Funders Group | 2 March 2023

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is pleased to release our 2022 Annual Report, highlighting the range of activities we have undertaken in conjunction with our members to accelerate the pace of discovery; reduce information-sharing gaps; encourage innovation; and promote equity, evidence-based policy making, and reproducibility. We look forward to further collaborating with our members and the broader cross-sector community in the coming year to advance open practices and incentives.”

OA = Funders and Lobbyists | Oct 10, 2022

“Do OA and open science represent a set of aligned interests being pushed by the rich and powerful — politicians, funders, lobbyists, and larger commercial operators — to allow for techno-utopian political posturing while they double-dip on their already-plentiful societal advantages and increase the odds that their current advantages grow?

However you answer this very leading question, it’s increasingly clear that policies are not being implemented transparently and openly, but rather via a hidden web of relationships, deals, and coordination — from Plan S to OSTP.

More and more information is pointing to a gradual, purposeful, and internecine takeover of publishing, not to make it more author-centric, but to make it more funder-centric. The relationships among funders, governments, and oligarchs are often blurry, with lobbyists an indicator that some kind of alignment is in the works.

A recent paper in Science and Public Policy about inadequate transparency in the EU’s approach to creating its influential open science policy discusses the role of lobbyists in the paradigm shift from “science 2.0” to “open science” as policies were formulated in Brussels and elsewhere. This was a meaningful shift. Both phrases are vague, but the first is more commonly understood as connoting a digital future based on existing norms. The latter injects a new set of untested norms, with the authors worrying that: ‘. . . successful projects of openness tend to be exploited on the one hand by powerful commercial actors and, on the other hand, by non-serious or even criminal actors, sometimes working in a grey area.’

Given the trail of influence SPARC and ORFG have left in the US through the NLM and the OSTP — in addition to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) — and their efforts to obscure relationships, roles, and ties to the registered lobbying firm (New Venture Fund [NVF]) that is their fiscal sponsor, some statements in the paper hit familiar notes when it comes to lobbyists on this side of the Atlantic:…

Given the power dynamics — with subscription-based journals creating strong filters at the headwaters of various scientific communities, often leading to funded projects being unpublished or published in lesser journals than their funders imagined — it’s little wonder funders changed lanes, entering publishing in order to gain further influence, lower barriers, and put their interests at the headwaters. “Publishers being co-opted by funders” now seems to be the unspoken intent of OA and open science.”

An open ecosystem for scientific research: A commentary by Greg Tananbaum – PhilanTopic | PND | Candid

“Our organization, the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG), is a collaborative of 25 philanthropies representing annual giving of $12 billion that is committed to the open sharing of research outputs. Our members aim to increase the impact of the work we support by creating an open ecosystem for scientific research—where data, analytics, methods, materials, and publications are openly available to all to access, test, and build upon. This approach closes information-sharing gaps, encourages innovation, and increases trust in the scientific process.  

In the wake of a tumultuous 2020—the inequity laid bare by the George Floyd killing and the rampant disinformation surrounding COVID-19—ORFG members realized that we needed to think even more expansively about our entire grantmaking processes and whether they reflect our values. To truly support open research, inclusivity, and equity, we understood we needed to rethink how we make decisions about where our money goes, from the way we build and socialize funding programs, to how we develop diverse applicant pools, all the way through how we support grantees and alumni.

To accomplish this, we engaged with the Civic Science Fellows program to support a fellow, Eunice Mercado-Lara, who could connect with broad and diverse communities to help shape our grantmaking processes. Open science seeks to level the playing field by providing wide access to the research process and products, and it is one component of the larger civic science movement, where science and evidence inform equitable and inclusive solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Major scientific advances such as gene editing, artificial intelligence, and vaccine technology can be transformational, but only when we successfully grapple with the array of complex political, social, and ethical questions that inevitably accompany these developments….”

ORFG Invites Feedback on Open and Equitable Grantmaking Draft Primers — Open Research Funders Group

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG), in conjunction with the Health Research Alliance and PREreview, is pleased to release the initial drafts of a set of primers designed to render the grantmaking lifecycle more open and equitable. For the past nine months, the ORFG and our partners have been exploring tangible ways to make both the processes of grantmaking and the resulting research outputs more transparent, inclusive, and trustworthy.  With significant co-creation from our working group and the broader community, we have identified interventions across the grantmaking lifecycle – program development, dissemination and publicity, application mechanics, proposal review, funding decisions, grantee and alumni support, and impact assessment. For each stage, the primers detail specific actions funders can take to ensure a broader range of voices and perspectives are engaged and supported.  These interventions will be actively tested over the next year by a cohort of 11 philanthropies, with results and lessons learned reported transparently at the conclusion.

The primers are works in progress and we welcome ongoing input and questions from all parties. Please explore the drafts and leave feedback, either anonymously or with attribution. If you prefer, you can also (1) email us your thoughts and/or request to arrange a call to share it verbally, and/or (2) join our recurring Open Community Calls. We will continue to update these primers to reflect the insights of the community.”

ORFG Issues Community Call to Improve Research Output Tracking — Open Research Funders Group

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) engages a range of actors to develop principles and policies that encourage sharing of papers, data, and other research outputs. It is in this spirit of engagement and broad collaboration that today we publish an open letter to the community – a call to action for interested parties across the research ecosystem to engage, convene, and collaborate in service of better research output tracking.

Proliferation in research outputs and the growing diversity of dissemination channels is both a challenge and an opportunity. What is being produced throughout the lifetime of a grant? Where are these products shared? How are they being reused by citizens, researchers, and policy makers? Answering these questions could help funders better measure the impact of their grant dollars and research sharing policies, as well as help the larger academic community by making research outputs more discoverable and reusable.

Last year, the ORFG launched a working group dedicated to policy compliance and research output tracking. Through regular conversations, this group has honed in on specific roadblocks in the research output tracking workflow, and identified concrete actions that could be taken by key interested parties in the ecosystem to improve these processes.

We propose some of these actions in our open letter, organized into four priority areas: (1) funder acknowledgments, (2) persistent identifiers, (3) resource availability statements, and (4) machine readable metadata. Our proposed actions focus first on what we can do as funders to improve research output tracking, and then the complementary steps that could be taken by other actors in this space, including grants management systems, publishers, persistent identifier providers, and content repositories, among others. Our full letter can be found here. …”

ORFG Releases New Resources to Facilitate Funders’ Open Research Policies — Open Research Funders Group

“At the ORFG, one of our priorities is to advise funders on the development of policies that stimulate the sharing of research outputs like articles, data, and more. We aim to meet funders where they currently are on their policy journey, and help them tailor policies that best fit their organization’s mission and goals. But we understand this can be a challenging process – gathering information on the wide range of sharing practices, crafting clear language, and finding examples of good practices to pull from takes time, energy, and can be a significant barrier.  

That’s why we’re excited to share our newest resources, designed to make policy development as easy as possible for funders. The first resource, our Policy Clause Bank, includes sample language for policies covering a range of different scholarly outputs and sharing practices. The goals here are two-fold: one, that funders can see how their peer organizations are phrasing certain requirements (each example links out to the funder policies it was adapted from), and two, that funders can identify the plug-and-play language that best fits their needs and incorporate it into their policies with very minimal changes.  

The second resource, our Policy Generator, is a full-service complement to the self-service Policy Clause Bank. It facilitates the process of selecting the policy language that is right for each funder. The Policy Generator is a Google form with questions that guide funders through the process of choosing policy characteristics that align with funder goals and operations. Based on the selected responses, the ORFG policy team will develop a customized draft plan for any interested funder, quickly and at no charge. These tools are intended both for funders who are developing a new policy, and also for those who would like to revise an existing policy by including new research products or requirements. …”

SPARC / ORFG Webinar – Apr 20, 2022 – SPARC

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is a partnership of 24 leading philanthropic organizations committed to the open sharing of research outputs, representing the first community of practice of its kind. ORFG members have a shared belief that open research benefits society by accelerating the pace of discovery, reducing information-sharing gaps, encouraging innovation, and promoting reproducibility. The ORFG is an initiative of SPARC.

The ORFG has, since its inception in late 2016, worked to serve both as a community of practice and as an amplifier of the funder’s voice with respect to open research. Over the last year, the ORFG launched several new initiatives designed to advance open research within the membership, as well as enact systems-level change in the larger ecosystem. 

In this webinar, the ORFG team will share information on some of these initiatives, including the Open Access Funder Cohort Program, the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program, the ORFG-led National Academies Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science, and the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS). An open Q&A will follow….”