Many funding agencies require research data be made publicly available, and have stipulated requirements for data sharing as well as a formal data management plan (link to DMP page). In fact, many funders specify that open access publishing is a non-negotiable. This is fast becoming the norm, not the exception.
For example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Open Access Policy advocates the “free, immediate, and unrestricted access to research will accelerate innovation, helping to reduce global inequity and empower the world’s poorest people to transform their own lives”1. The Royal Society also supports open access publishing as part of their commitment to the widest possible dissemination of research outputs2.
In 2007, the OECD (Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development) recognised that innovative research depends on fostering collaborative exchanges between different communities and assuring its widest dissemination”3, and published a set of recommendations. Prior to this, in 2004, the OECD member countries as well as South Africa and others, adopted the ‘Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding’.
Closer to home, the National Research Foundation (NRF) acknowledges that open access to a knowledge base of scientific research that is publicly funded facilitates:
- dissemination of knowledge;
- utilisation/uptake/application of this knowledge;
- accelerated transformation and globalisation of science; and
- rapid transformation of this knowledge into innovative and developmental applications for the benefit of society4.
The NRF stipulates that (from 1 March 2015), “authors of research papers generated from research either fully or partially funded by NRF, when submitting and publishing in academic journals, should deposit their final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted by the journals, to the administering Institution Repository with an embargo period of no more than 12 months. Earlier Open Access may be provided should this be allowed by the publisher. If the paper is published in an Open Access journal or the publisher allows the deposit of the published version in PDF format, such version should be deposited into the administering Institutional Repository and Open Access should be provided as soon as possible. In addition, the data supporting the publication should be deposited in an accredited Open Access repository, with the provision of a Digital Object Identifier for future citation and referencing”5.