Helping faculty meet new federal access requirements

Mini-workshop for faculty Nov. 10 at Fondren Library

Due to new government rules, Rice faculty who receive new research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense or 12 other federal agencies will soon be required to make all peer-reviewed publications and data resulting from those grants available publicly.

Rice staff are preparing to help faculty meet the requirements, and faculty with questions are encouraged to attend a mini-workshop and question-and-answer session at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 in Fondren Library, Room B43A. The workshop is co-sponsored by Fondren and the Office of Proposal Development and the Office of Information Technology’s Center for Research Computing and will provide participants a general overview of the new federal policies and the key Rice resources that are available to help navigate the new requirements.

Architectural detail from Lovett Hall, Rice University

A Nov. 10 mini-workshop at Fondren Library will address new rules that will soon require Rice faculty who receive federal research grants to make all peer-reviewed publications and data available publicly.

Shannon Kipphut-Smith, one of the meeting’s organizers, said some new rules have already taken effect, others have been published but won’t take effect until next year and still others haven’t yet been revealed. She said the rules resulted from a 2013 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy mandate covering all agencies that distribute more than $100 million per year in research funding.

“They couldn’t get together and decide on a common policy or time frame, so each is developing their own,” said Kipphut-Smith, Fondren’s scholarly communications liaison.

She said the variability could complicate compliance, particularly for faculty who receive funding from multiple agencies.

“Authors are going to be required to make their publications available to the public,” she said. “For those publishing in journals that are behind a paywall, this can typically be accomplished by placing a copy of the paper in an agency repository or an institutional repository like the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive (RDSA).”

Kipphut-Smith, who began working with Rice faculty three years ago to add peer-reviewed papers and other intellectual output to the RDSA, said journal publishers worked closely with federal agencies to draft the new rules.

“People will still be able to publish in the same journals, regardless of whether they have paywalls or not,” she said. “But faculty are definitely going to need to read the details of their publishing and copyright agreements.”

She said that in many cases faculty will be able to meet federal requirements for public access to papers by placing a peer-reviewed, preprint manuscript in RDSA, a process that some might be familiar with from using sites like

Kipphut-Smith said questions about meeting federal access requirements for research data should be directed to Rice’s Research Data Management Team, which brings together representatives from Fondren, the Office of Information Technology’s Center for Research Computing and the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology. Those interested in contacting the data management team should visit or email

For more information about public access compliance, including a complete list of the federal granting agencies affected by the new rules, attend the Nov. 10 meeting or visit or email

For more about RDSA, visit

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.