Skip to main content

NSF Public Access Policy: Home

Information and resources to help researchers comply with the NSF Public Access Policy.

Questions? Ask Us!

Contact your subject specialist for information about these new NSF requirements.

Campus Resources

Questions about applicability to a grant-funded project? Contact your OSPA pre-award or post-award staff or call 882-7560. 

Overview

The NSF public access policy concerning publications, including juried conference papers, will go into effect for articles resulting from awards made for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. NSF’s Public Access requirements will be imposed via the addition of a new award term and condition that will be applied to awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016.

NSF requires that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions (also known as “juried conference papers”):

  • be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF (NSF-PAR beta);
  • be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication;
  • possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication;
  • be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and
  • be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.

How does NSF's public access policy work?

Data: the existing NSF policies on preparing data management plans will be retained. See our Guide on NSF Data Management Plans.

Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles and juried conference papers, based wholly or partially on NSF support, must be deposited in the designated NSF repository. Either the final accepted version of the manuscript or the version of record may be submitted. NSF expects to make the repository service available in the fall of 2015 for voluntary compliance. In accordance with the applicable award terms and conditions, NSF “expects significant findings from research and education activities it supports to be promptly submitted for publication, with authorship that accurately reflects the contributions of those involved” (Grant General Conditions (GC-1) Article 45). NSF also requires grantees to acknowledge NSF support, assure that any publication of NSF-funded material contains the appropriate disclaimer, and provide the cognizant NSF program officer with a copy of the publication, together with the award number and other appropriate identifying information, promptly after publication (GC-1 Article 27).

What repository does NSF require PIs to use for depositing publications?

NSF requires principal investigators who publish peer-reviewed journal articles or juried conference papers to deposit a copy of the item (either the final accepted version or the version of record, as defined in NSF's public access plan) in the NSF public access repository hosted by the Department of Energy (DOE). The NSF public access repository is expected to be available for voluntary compliance by the end of the 2015 calendar year.

Top 5 FAQ's

From FAQs on NSF Public Access Policy

Do NSF's public access requirements apply to me?

It depends. Are you a principal investigator of research that is funded, wholly or in part, by NSF? Is it a new award that resulted from a proposal that was submitted or due on or after January 25, 2016? If your answer to both questions is "Yes," the public access requirements apply to you.

What material is covered by NSF's public access policy?

NSF’s public access policy covers articles in peer-reviewed journals, juried conference papers, and data that result from NSF funding.  These research outputs are a subset of the outcomes that should be reported in annual and final project reports. NSF’s public access policy for data is covered by NSF’s data management plan requirements. Principal Investigators are already required to include a two-page data management plan (DMP) as a supplementary document in their proposals (see GPG II.C.2.j), and the DMP is evaluated during the merit review process. The scope of the material covered by the DMP (for example, whether it includes software) is governed by guidance at the directorate, division, and program levels. PIs are encouraged to consult with the cognizant program officers.

What repository must I use for depositing publications?

NSF requires principal investigators who publish peer-reviewed journal articles or juried conference papers to deposit a copy of the item (either the final accepted version or the version of record, as defined in NSF's public access plan) in the NSF public access repository hosted by the Department of Energy (DOE). It is expected to be available for voluntary compliance by the end of the 2015 calendar year.

Do I have to deposit an article into NSF's designated public access repository in order to report it in my annual or final project report?

Yes. You must deposit a copy of any peer-reviewed journal publication (either the final accepted version or the version of record) or any juried conference paper in NSF’s designated public access repository for articles (eligible publications or conference papers) resulting from an award made for a proposal submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016 in order to report that publication or conference paper in your annual or final project report. We are developing a streamlined process to support the entry of publications and related metadata in annual and final project reports.

I am not the lead author on an article that has been partially supported by research funding provided by NSF. Does NSF still require a copy of the article to be deposited in the NSF-designated repository?

Yes. The principal investigator of the award is responsible for ensuring deposit in the NSF-designated repository of all articles based on research funded under that award.