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GAO report on improving public access to research results

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report looking at how well various government agencies are doing on their mandate to provide public access to publicly funded research — as called for in a 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum — along with recommendations on how they can improve this. The report is a very useful and fairly concise snapshot of a lot of not necessarily well coordinated efforts as well as a window into commitments that these agencies are making going forward.

Also of note, I just noticed that GAO now has a database of open recommendations. It’s searchable and also sorted by agency, topic and subject term. So now you can track all of their open recommendations. Very handy indeed!

FEDERAL RESEARCH: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Public Access to Research Results. GAO-20-81: Published: Nov 21, 2019.

Public access to the results of federally funded research can accelerate scientific breakthroughs. In 2013, certain federal agencies were directed to create plans for increasing access to publications and data they funded.

The 19 agencies we reviewed made progress, but some have not fully implemented their plans. For example:

  • 7 agencies have not taken steps to make data findable, such as creating a single web access point
  • 4 don’t require all researchers to submit a plan to provide access to data
  • 11 don’t fully ensure that researchers comply with access requirements

We made 37 recommendations to 16 agencies to address these and other issues.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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