Open Science and Research Data Management Policies Around the World
The movement for open science and the public sharing of research results, including research data, is not only a European specialty. For example, cOAlition S currently includes 19 national funding agencies from 17 countries, 4 foundations and 4 international organizations from around the world. Countries of member organizations outside the European Union include Canada, Jordan, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia. The open science movement is also strong in some other countries whose funding organizations are not part of cOAlition S, such as Australia, China, India and Latin American countries. In this article, we will look at open science and research data management policies in some key countries and regions outside the European Union. You can find the policies of other countries in the ROARMAP registry.
South African Medical Research Council and Zambian National Science and Technology Council are members of cOAlition S. This means that scientists from these two countries must follow the Plan S principles when publishing research results. The movement for open science is also present elsewhere in Africa. In 2016, a pan-African pilot project African Open Science Platform was launched, which was funded by the South African Department of Science and Innovation, hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa and coordinated by CODATA (The Committee on Data for Science and Technology at the International Science Council).
In 2018, the pilot project was upgraded to a full platform of the same name, which aims to gather and coordinate the ideas, people, institutions and resources needed to promote and advance open science in and for Africa. Today, the African Open Science Platform comprises six initiatives:
- A federated network of computational facilities and services;
- Software tools and consulting on research data management policies and practices;
- A Data Science and AI Institute;
- Priority application programmes: e.g., cities, disease, biosphere, agriculture;
- A Network for Education and Skills in data and information;
- A Network for Open Science Access and Dialogue.
The project is currently underway.
Australia and New Zealand
In 2003, the Queensland University of Technology was the first university in the world to adopt an institutional policy of open access, which obliged researchers to deposit scientific papers in the university repository QUT ePrints. In 2006, the Australian government signed the OECD Recommendation Concerning Access to Research Data from Public Funding.
The main Australian funding agencies, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), introduced open science policies in 2013 and 2014, which at the time were still optional. ARC reformed its policy in 2021 so that the researchers must now open all research results through the green route within 12 months of publication if they were not originally published in open access. However, research data are not included among research results. NHMRC joined cOAlition S in 2022 and now pursues a more restrictive policy, requiring researchers to open their outputs immediately upon publication and license them with open licenses. However, the same rules as those mandated by ARC apply to existing research projects. NHMRC also encourages researchers to publish research data openly but does not oblige them to do so.
Since 2010, the New Zealand government has pursued the policy of open access to own works; however, it does not require similar action from other parts of the public sector, including tertiary education and funding agencies. Six out of eight New Zealand universities have introduced voluntary institutional open access policies, and various interest groups also lead similar initiatives, such as The Tasman Declaration on Open Research from 2013.
In 2013, the interest association Australian Open Access Support Group was founded, which was renamed the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group after the accession of New Zealand in 2015. In 2021, it became today's Open Access Australasia. The main purpose of the organisation is the promotion and advocacy of open access in Australia and New Zealand. It includes 28 Australian and New Zealand universities, Creative Commons Australian Section, Tohatoha Aotearoa Commons, Australian Library and Information Association, Australian Digital Alliance and Wikimedia Australia.
In 2006, the National institute of Technology, Rourkela introduced the first institutional open access policy in India. In 2009, the open access policy to results of publicly funded research was adopted by the first funding body, i.e. the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. This was followed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 2013, and the Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Science and Technology of the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology in 2014. Since 2020, the new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy of India is under preparation.
The policy draft is very ambitious and foresees the following measures:
- Establishment of a National STI Observatory to act as a central repository for all types of scientific outputs generated by Indian researchers, as well as as an information and infrastructure hub;
- Establishment of the Indian Science and Technology Archive of Research, which will provide access to all results of publicly funded research (including research papers, research data, supporting materials, protocols, review articles, conference abstracts, scientific monographs, book chapters, etc.);
- Establishment of open access to data from publicly funded research, which will allow public access to research data according to the FAIR principles, except in the case of eligible exemptions (privacy, national security and protection of intellectual property), which will still allow limited access to sensitive data (e.g., through anonymization or authorization);
- Establishment of a policy of open access to scientific publications from publicly funded research, which requires the deposit of peer-reviewed (exceptionally non-peer-reviewed) manuscripts in an institutional or central repository immediately after the acceptance of scientific papers for publication (the so-called green open access);
- The “One Nation, One Subscription” approach, in which the Indian government intends to negotiate with scholarly publishers to provide open access to scholarly publications for all residents of India in exchange for one centrally coordinated payment;
- An increase in the recognition, visibility and outreach of Indian publications, e.g., through digitization of printed publications and prevention of publishing in predatory scientific journals;
- Establishment of open access to publicly funded research infrastructure, i.e. laboratories, instruments, information and communication technologies, artificial intelligence and high-performance computers;
- Establishment of open access to educational resources under a minimally restrictive open license with the possibility of recognition of authorship and translations (especially into regional languages);
- Establishment of public access to libraries at publicly funded institutions within reasonable security protocols; establishment of public access to learning and gathering spaces (including conference rooms and other spaces for exchanging ideas), especially for people with special needs.
There is also a strong grassroots movement for open science in India. In 2011, the Open Access India association was established to promote open access, open data and open education in India. In 2017, it prepared the National Open Access Policy and submitted it to the Ministry of Human Resources and the Ministry of Science and Technology. In 2018, it published the Delhi Declaration on Open Access, which was supported by more than 100 signatories from around the world. The association is also credited with setting up the pre-print repositories IndiaRxiv and AgriXiv.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities already in 2004. CAS and the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) introduced green open access policies in 2014. NSFC requires researchers to deposit peer-reviewed manuscripts of all papers resulting from its project funding in its Basic Research Repository. CAS, on the other hand, requires the deposit of peer-reviewed manuscripts of all publicly funded scientific research, regardless of funding source, in institutional repositories (each CAS member has its own). Both institutions allow the possibility of a 12-month embargo. All Chinese funders, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology, also allow researchers to cover article processing charges (APC) with project money.
Chinese universities are also establishing their own repositories for scientific publications; currently, more than 50 have done so. Since 2013, the National Foundation for Social Sciences of China has been developing the National Social Science Database, which hosts more than 1,000 Chinese scientific journals in the fields of social sciences and humanities.
In 2018, the National Science Library, the National Science and Technology Digital Library, and the NSFC each released an official statement in support of Plan S and the OA2020 initiative. Although no Chinese institution has signed Plan S so far, China recognizes that open access to scientific publications is in its national interest, especially technological.
In 2018, the Chinese State Council adopted the Measures for Managing Scientific Data, general rules that address the management of the entire life cycle of data, provision of permanent support to the data ecosystem and specific data programs, clear definition of data copyright, security aspects and responsibility for long-term data stewardship, among others. The measures envisage and promote the open sharing of research data.
In 2019, the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation launched the Malaysia Open Science Platform pilot project. The aim of the initiative is to strategically transform and strengthen collaboration in the Malaysian science and technology ecosystem. A key objective of the initiative is to develop a trusted platform that will enable access and sharing of research data as a valuable national asset, aligned with national priorities and international best practices.
Members of the National Alliance for the Malaysia Open Science Platform are:
- Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit,
- Malaysia Science and Technology Information Center at the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change,
- Ministry of Education,
- Malaysia Research University Network,
- Malaysian Research & Education Network,
- Academy of Sciences Malaysia,
- University of Malaya,
- International Science Council Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
A three-year project (2020-2022) of five Malaysian research universities is currently underway, funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and implemented by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia. The project focuses on three areas, namely guidelines, awareness and capacity building, and infrastructure. The first focus area includes a preparation of national guidelines on open science, which will involve stakeholders throughout the country, and a study on the open science landscape in Malaysia. The second focus area includes the development of training for the role of data librarians/curators, intended primarily for librarians. The third focus area includes the development of the technical specifications and prototype of the Malaysia Open Science Platform.
Unlike most of the rest of the world, Latin American countries have been running a diamond open access system for more than a decade, ie., non-commercial infrastructures for open publishing where scientific publishing is managed by research institutions or their associations. Production, publication, distribution and access to research literature do not carry additional costs for researchers, as they are covered by public funding for education and research. The first such publishing platform, SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online), was founded in 1997 in Brazil, and today it has grown into an association of 16 countries from mainly Latin America, but also Europe and Africa. Other important international platforms are, e.g., Redalyc, Latindex, CLACSO, La Referencia and AmeliCA. These platforms provide software, interoperability, visibility and discoverability of Latin American research work. From this point of view, Plan S, which relies on commercial publishing houses, even represents a step backwards in ensuring open access to research works and a disproportionate financial burden on Latin American countries.
As open access infrastructure in Latin America has been in place for a long time, these countries are also promoting open access to research data. Many have already adopted national or institutional policies for research data management and are establishing national or institutional data repositories, such as Dados Abertos CAPES in Brazil, Datos Cientificos Abertos in Chile, Datos CEDE – Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, etc. You can read more about the research data management in Latin American countries on the LEARN project website.
Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ), one of the Canadian government agencies for funding science, is a member of cOAlition S. Other agencies are National Research Council (NRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
NRC introduced an open access policy in 2009. Researchers are encouraged, but not required, to deposit peer-reviewed manuscripts in the agency's NPARC repository after the publishing embargo expires (green open access). NRC is currently implementing the Action Plan for Open Science, with which it intends to strengthen activities in the field of open access to research publications and data.
CIHR independently introduced an open access policy in 2008 and adopted the so-called Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications together with NSERC and SSHRC in 2015. This policy requires researchers to open scientific publications resulting from the agency funding through either the green or gold route within 12 months of publication. Gold open access fees (APC) count as eligible project costs.
CIHR also requires the researchers it funds to:
- deposit bioinformatics research data and atomic and molecular coordinates in a suitable public database (e.g., gene sequences in GenBank) immediately after publication of research results;
- retain the original data sets for at least five years after the end of funding, regardless of whether the data have been published or not. Researchers must also follow the policies and practices of their research institutions and ethics committees regarding the retention and protection of research data.
Institutional open access policies have so far been introduced also by 12 Canadian universities.
The United States
Four US-based non-governmental organizations that fund scientific research are currently members of cOAlition S: Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Templeton World Charity Foundation.
In 2008, the US passed a law requiring all publications based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be archived in the publicly accessible repository PubMedCentral no later than one year after publication. This law paved the way for green open access in the US.
After two failed attempts by the U.S. Congress in 2012 and 2013 to enact the same policy as NIH for other federal agencies, the White House issued a directive in 2013 that all federal agencies with research and development budgets worth at least $100 million must implement open access policies to publications and data from research they fund. By 2019, a total of 19 funding agencies and ministries had partially or fully met the requirements for the establishment of repositories, the implementation of plans for research data management, and the verification of compliance with the requirements. You can read a summary of the current situation on the website of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
In 2020, the White House continued the consultations with stakeholders as a basis for adopting a national open access policy. On 25 August 2022, the administration of President Joe Biden ordered that by the end of 2025, federal agencies must publish, free of charge, all publicly funded publications in open access immediately after the publication of the final peer-reviewed manuscript (postprint). They must also publish openly and "without delay" the data on which these publications are based.
The details of the new measures, including funding for open access, remain unclear for now. It is known that the measures do not envision a single path to open access, e.g., exclusively through gold open access journals. Researchers who publish in subscription journals will have the opportunity to publish the final peer-reviewed manuscript (postprint) in a public repository or other similar location approved by the agency. Scientific publishers, however, will still be able to maintain their publisher-formatted publications (version of record, VoR) behind the paywall. Each federal agency must formulate its open access policy by the end of 2024 and implement it by the end of 2025.
To date, a total of 143 research organizations or their subunits have implemented institutional open access policies, including some of the most prestigious universities such as Caltech, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton and Penn State.
Last update: 30 September 2022
Green Open Access means archiving one of the final versions of the author's manuscript (before review, i.e. preprint, or after review, i.e. postprint) that was published in a regular subscription journal, in trusted repositories. Depending on the publisher's policy, this type of open access may be embargoed, which is no longer allowed under Plan S.
Gold Open Access means publication in open access journals and monographs for which a fee (article processing charge, APC) must be paid. Final publisher's versions of such publications (version of record, VoR) can be archived in trusted repositories without embargo. This is a for-profit publishing model.
Diamond Open Access means publication in open access journals and monographs at no cost to the authors or their institutions. Publishing costs are covered by the publishers, who acquire them on the market or from public funding. This is a non-profit publishing model.
You can read more about the types of open access on the Open Library website.