The question of who should pay for the preservation and stewardship of open research data remains unresolved, at a time when journals and funders alike are adopting strong open data policies. As a non-profit repository that relies on financial support from members and users, we at Dryad deal with this question daily, and are eager to help find new and sustainable solutions.
Along these lines, if you submit your data to Dryad, you will soon notice that we will ask for information about your grant support. That’s because we’re running a pilot project with the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to test the feasibility of having a funding organization directly sponsor Data Publication Charges (DPCs).
During this pilot implementation, if your research was supported by a grant from the US NSF, and your DPC would not otherwise be waived or sponsored by another organization, this grant information can be used to charge the DPC directly to a fund set aside as part of this project.
Entering grant information at data submission is optional. Nonetheless, we encourage researchers to fill out the funding information in order to benefit from NSF funds, enable awardees to receive credit from their institutions and funders for the open availability and reuse of the data, and to promote its discoverability.
Direct funder sponsorship of data archiving has some significant features:
- It enables researchers to direct grant funds on a voluntary, project-specific, as-needed basis in support of their data.
- It enables funding organizations to leverage the contributions of other funders, and other research-supporting organizations, around the world.
- It facilitates the linking of grants and Data Management Plans to project outputs.
Researchers also stand to benefit — they have an interest in seeing their data responsibly curated and preserved, even if they publish and archive data after their grant funds have expired. And we are excited by the prospect of increasing the proportion of data packages for which the DPC is sponsored or waived (which is currently just over 2/3).
We aim to work out the details of achieving the goals above, and to evaluate any downsides, as part of the pilot. We will also be surveying researchers to better understand what happens when data is not sponsored by a payment plan. From that, we will be able to develop recommendations for what Dryad, funding organizations, and institutions can do to facilitate the DPC payment process for researchers.
We are grateful to the NSF Advances in Bioinformatics program for the supplemental funding behind this project, and we hope that many researchers will take advantage of the opportunity to have their DPC covered by the NSF funds, which will be available at least through February 2017. Please let me know (at email@example.com) if you have any questions or feedback!