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Applications to NSF Soon Will Have to Include Data Sharing Plans

Beginning in October 2010, all proposals for funding from the National Science Foundation must include a two-page "supplementary document" describing how research data will be shared, according to an announcement by NSF at the recent meeting of the National Science Board, NSF's governing body. "This is the first step in what will be a more comprehensive approach to data policy," said Cora Marrett, NSF acting deputy director. "It will address the need for data from publicly funded research to be made public." Additional guidance from NSF, expected before October, will include the agency's expectations for the data management plans. This requirement is a departure from NSF's long-standing policy "requiring grantees to share their data within a reasonable length of time, so long as the cost is modest," NSF said. The change is also in keeping with "the growing interest from U.S. policymakers in making sure that any data obtained with federal funds be accessible to the general public" and the Obama administration's efforts to make government "more transparent and more participatory," the agency said.