About Public Access

The National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Public Access policy is intended to expand public access to the results of its funded research and aligns with the Foundation’s long-standing commitment to clear and open communication of research results, which is central to fulfilling NSF’s primary mission of promoting the progress of science, advancing the frontiers of knowledge, and helping to ensure the nation’s future prosperity.

NSF’s Public Access plan (NSF 15-52) describes a set of steps that meet the policy objectives set forth in the February 22, 2013 memorandum issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research. These include making copies of articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and juried conference papers resulting from NSF awards available to the public free of charge no more than 12 months after initial publication. The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) provides mechanisms that enable NSF-funded investigators to meet this deposit requirement and to include the relevant information in their project reports. NSF-PAR also provides search mechanisms to enable the public to find and use these articles and papers.

Additionally, as outlined in NSF's Public Access Plan, the Foundation has developed interoperability with another Federal agency, the Department of Energy, Office of Science and Technical Information (DOE/OSTI). Beginning in the Spring of 2018, this integration will allow authors of publications funded by both agencies (NSF and DOE) to deposit the final accepted version of their manuscript one time, thus reducing burden on the investigators and awardees. Authors who have successfully deposited an eligible publication in DOE/OSTI's system will now be able to seamlessly make their publication available through NSF-PAR. The publications also will be available to NSF Program Officers via the Foundation's internal electronic systems.

Does Public Access apply to me?

If your organization receives an award based on a proposal submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016, then the Public Access requirement applies. You will then need to deposit publications in the NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) (sign in to Research.gov and choose 'Deposit Publication' from My Desktop).

If it doesn't apply, is there anything I need to do?

If your organization receives an award based on a proposal submitted and due before January 25, 2016, then the Public Access requirement does not apply. If the award is not subject to the Public Access requirement, you are still encouraged to deposit publications in NSF-PAR as noted above, even though they will not be automatically included in project reports.

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