[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 247 (Friday, December 23, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 80417-80418]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32947]


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OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY


Request for Information: Public Access to Digital Data Resulting 
From Federally Funded Scientific Research

ACTION: Notice of Request for Information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: The RFI is being extended to change the response date to 
January 12, 2012. The RFI was published in the Federal Register, Volume 
76, Number 214, on November 4, 2011, pages 68517-68518.
    In accordance with Section 103(b)(6) of the America COMPETES 
Reauthorization Act of 2010 (ACRA; Pub. L. 111-358), this Request for 
Information (RFI) offers the opportunity for interested individuals and 
organizations to provide recommendations on approaches for ensuring 
long-term stewardship and encouraging broad public access to 
unclassified digital data that result from federally funded scientific 
research. The public input provided through this Notice will inform 
deliberations of the National Science and Technology Council's 
Interagency Working Group on Digital Data.
    Release Date: November 3, 2011.
    Response Date: January 12, 2012.

ADDRESSES: digitaldata@ostp.gov.
    Issued By: Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on behalf 
of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose

    In accordance with Section 103(b)(6) of the America COMPETES 
Reauthorization Act of 2010 (ACRA; Pub. L. 111-358), this Request for 
Information (RFI) offers the opportunity for interested individuals and 
organizations to provide recommendations on approaches for ensuring 
long-term stewardship and encouraging broad public access to 
unclassified digital data that result from federally funded scientific 
research. The public input provided through this Notice will inform 
deliberations of the National Science and Technology Council's 
Interagency Working Group on Digital Data.

Background

    The multi-agency Interagency Working Group on Digital Data (Working 
Group), established under the National Science and Technology Council 
(NSTC) Committee on Science (CoS), has been tasked with developing 
options for implementing the digital data policy and standards 
requirements of Section 103 of ACRA. OSTP will issue a report to 
Congress, in accordance with Section 103(e) of ACRA, describing 
priorities for the development of agency policies for ensuring broad 
public access to the results of federally funded unclassified research, 
the status of agency policies for public access to digital data 
resulting from federally funded research, and a summary of public input 
collected from this RFI and other mechanisms. The Working Group is 
considering steps that can be taken by Federal agencies to encourage 
and coordinate the development of agency policies and standards to 
promote long-term preservation of and access to digital data resulting 
from federally funded scientific research. Ideally, such policies would 
harmonize, to the extent practicable and feasible, data management 
plans for digital data that are collected or otherwise produced either 
by the agency itself or extramurally with Federal funds. The 2009 
report of the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data of the National 
Science and Technology Council, ``Harnessing the Power of Digital 
Data,'' recommended that agencies lay the foundations for digital 
scientific data policy and make their policies publicly available. It 
also recommended that agencies consider requiring data management plans 
for projects that will generate ``preservation data''--those data for 
which the benefits of preservation exceed the costs. Federal science 
agencies already have some experience with policies to promote long-
term preservation and access to scientific data. Indeed current Federal 
policies promote and in many cases require Federal agencies to make the 
digital data generated by Federal agencies more publically accessible. 
However, such policies do not routinely cover data generated through 
Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and some other types of funding 
mechanism. Exceptions include, the National Institutes of Health's 
(NIH) Data Sharing Policy, which requires all investigator-initiated 
applications with direct costs greater than $500,000 in any single year 
provide a data management plan. In addition, NIH has more specific data 
management and data sharing requirements for specific types of 
projects, such as genome-wide association studies.
    In January 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) reaffirmed 
its data management policy requirement,

[[Page 80418]]

indicating that proposals must include a Data Management Plan that 
describes how funded researchers will conform to NSF policy on the 
dissemination and sharing of research results. The NSF policy is clear 
that ``Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at 
no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary 
data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials 
created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants.'' Such 
models may not necessarily be appropriate for all types of federally 
sponsored research.
    As agencies consider how to further develop digital data policies, 
it is important to note that all policies for increasing accountability 
and access to digital data must follow statutory requirements and 
follow best practices for protecting confidentiality, personal privacy, 
proprietary interests, intellectual property rights, author 
attribution, and for ensuring that homeland and national security 
interests are not compromised.
    The Working Group is now seeking additional insight from ``non-
Federal stakeholders, including the public, universities, nonprofit and 
for-profit publishers, libraries, federally funded and non-federally 
funded research scientists, and other organizations and institutions 
with an interest in long-term stewardship and improved public access to 
the results of federally funded research,'' as described in Section 
103(b)(6) of ACRA. Specifically the Working Group seeks further public 
comment on the questions listed below:

Preservation, Discoverability, and Access

    (1) What specific Federal policies would encourage public access to 
and the preservation of broadly valuable digital data resulting from 
federally funded scientific research, to grow the U.S. economy and 
improve the productivity of the American scientific enterprise?
    (2) What specific steps can be taken to protect the intellectual 
property interests of publishers, scientists, Federal agencies, and 
other stakeholders, with respect to any existing or proposed policies 
for encouraging public access to and preservation of digital data 
resulting from federally funded scientific research?
    (3) How could Federal agencies take into account inherent 
differences between scientific disciplines and different types of 
digital data when developing policies on the management of data?
    (4) How could agency policies consider differences in the relative 
costs and benefits of long-term stewardship and dissemination of 
different types of data resulting from federally funded research?
    (5) How can stakeholders (e.g., research communities, universities, 
research institutions, libraries, scientific publishers) best 
contribute to the implementation of data management plans?
    (6) How could funding mechanisms be improved to better address the 
real costs of preserving and making digital data accessible?
    (7) What approaches could agencies take to measure, verify, and 
improve compliance with Federal data stewardship and access policies 
for scientific research? How can the burden of compliance and 
verification be minimized?
    (8) What additional steps could agencies take to stimulate 
innovative use of publicly accessible research data in new and existing 
markets and industries to create jobs and grow the economy?
    (9) What mechanisms could be developed to assure that those who 
produced the data are given appropriate attribution and credit when 
secondary results are reported?

Standards for Interoperability, Re-Use and Re-Purposing

    (10) What digital data standards would enable interoperability, 
reuse, and repurposing of digital scientific data? For example, MIAME 
(minimum information about a microarray experiment; see Brazma et al., 
2001, Nature Genetics 29, 371) is an example of a community-driven data 
standards effort.
    (11) What are other examples of standards development processes 
that were successful in producing effective standards and what 
characteristics of the process made these efforts successful?
    (12) How could Federal agencies promote effective coordination on 
digital data standards with other nations and international 
communities?
    (13) What policies, practices, and standards are needed to support 
linking between publications and associated data?
    Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address 
any or all the above items, as well as provide additional information 
that they think is relevant to developing policies consistent with 
increased preservation and dissemination of broadly useful digital data 
resulting from federally funded research. Please note that the 
Government will not pay for response preparation or for the use of any 
information contained in the response.

How To Submit a Response

    All comments must be submitted electronically to: 
digitaldata@ostp.gov.
    Responses to this RFI will be accepted through January 12, 2012. 
You will receive an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of 
your response, but will not receive individualized feedback on any 
suggestions. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall 
arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from 
the Government's use of such information.

Inquiries

    Specific questions about this RFI should be directed to the 
following email address: digitaldata@ostp.gov.
Form should include:
[Assigned ID ]
[Assigned Entry date]
Name/Email
Affiliation/Organization
City, State
Comment 1
Comment 2
Comment 3
Comment 4
Comment 5
Comment 6
Comment 7
Comment 8
Comment 9
Comment 10
Comment 11

    In addition, please identify any other items the Working Group 
might consider for Federal policies related to public access to peer-
reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally supported 
research.
    Please attach any documents that support your comments to the 
questions.

Ted Wackler,
Deputy Chief of Staff.
[FR Doc. 2011-32947 Filed 12-22-11; 8:45 am]
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