Report: Public Access to Research Data at Virginia Tech
Committee, Public Access to Research Data
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Recent reports and recommendations from AAU/APLU and National Academies of Science charge public universities, especially those with a land grant mission, to provide needed infrastructure and guidance that will enable researchers to more easily share the data supporting their research. In brief, the AAU/APLU Public Access Working Group states: “In light of governmental mandates and the scientific benefits of making data accessible to the public, universities will need to adopt new institutional policies, procedures, and approaches that actively support and promote research data sharing, while at the same time ensuring rigor in the research process and the veracity of its intellectual outputs.” Virginia Tech has resources to support public access to research data in the Office of Vice President of Research and Innovation, University Libraries, and Division of Information Technology; however, there are gaps in communication, policy, training, and implementation that make data sharing difficult and confusing for busy researchers. In response to a few of these identified gaps, the Public Access to Data Committee makes the following recommendations: - Policy 130015 should be revised to provide more pertinent information to researchers on how and where to obtain support for both restricting access to data and/or publicly sharing data, - The University Libraries should work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to create guidance for PIs who are working on grant applications and processes for ensuring that Data Management Plans are updated and followed over the lifetime of the grant, - The University Libraries, Division of IT, and Research Compliance Office should work together to create guidance helping researchers know when they can and should publicly share their data, and when they can and should keep the data secure. Ultimately, we recommend the creation of a standing Data Security and Sharing Committee reporting to the Commission on Research to consider, create, and maintain this guidance to better support researchers at Virginia Tech.