secrets), “agencies shall apply especially rigorous robustness checks to analytic results and document what checks were undertaken.”57

A committee organized by the National Research Council’s Committee on Science, Technology, and Law held several workshops in 2002 to discuss OMB’s IQA guidance and the agency responses that were being developed. The summary of those workshops reviews a number of the issues agencies faced in developing their own implementing guidelines.58

Federal and Journal Policies Affecting the Availability of Data

Table 2-2 shows federal agency policies toward availability of data generated directly by agencies as well as data generated by external grantees. In 2008 the federal government released its Principles for the Release of Scientific Research Results in response to the America COMPETES Act of 2007.59 These principles promote sharing of data from research undertaken by federal civilian agency employees.

For federally sponsored research performed by external organizations, the grants guides of agencies vary in how strongly data sharing is encouraged or required. A 2007 Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment of agency policies toward grantees in climate science found that although agencies encouraged data sharing, the specific requirements varied from program to program.60 For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) grants guide states the expectation that grantees make their data “widely available and useful” within a “reasonable time.” Specific NSF programs might require that data be deposited in a specific repository within a set time period following data collection. The GAO report also found that agencies generally do not monitor whether data-sharing requirements are being met and have not overcome barriers to sharing, such as the lack of appropriate data archives in some subfields of climate science.

Although specific federally sponsored research programs include a range of data-sharing mandates, no federal agency has yet adopted an agencywide open access data mandate, analogous to NIH’s open access publication mandate. NIH does require that grant proposals above a certain size include a data management plan consistent with NIH’s Data Sharing Policy, which is discussed further below in the section on “Responsibilities of Research Institutions, Research Sponsors, Professional Societies, and Journals.”


Ibid., p. 8457.


National Research Council. 2003. Ensuring the Quality of Data Disseminated by the Federal Government: Workshop Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.


John H. Marburger, III. 2008. Principles for the Release of Scientific Research Results. Memorandum. May 28. Available at


Government Accountability Office. 2007. Climate Change Research: Agencies Have Data-Sharing Policies but Could Do More to Enhance the Availability of Data from Federally Funded Research. September. Available at

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement