2013 CTSI Annual Pilot Awards to Improve the Conduct of Research

To facilitate the development, conduct or analysis of clinical & translational research

Developing a Policy Roadmap for Research Outputs

Proposal Status: 


The information age has brought about incredible shifts in the dissemination of knowledge, and academic research is no exception. Research stakeholders including funding agencies, journals, researchers, and research institutions have all recognized the potential of Open Access to accelerate the scientific enterprise. Recent stakeholder policy revisions related to the demand for Open Access have become a source of uncertainty to the research community both in terms of traditional (academic articles) and non-traditional (data, software, etc.) research outputs. The creation of a policy roadmap that compiles and clarifies funder, publisher, and institutional policies regarding access to research outputs will help researchers navigate the Open Knowledge landscape, supporting compliance and encouraging openness in research.



1)   Identify any available resources that document research stakeholder policies regarding traditional and non-traditional research outputs. (For example the UK JISC JoRD Project is developing a central service on journal research data policies)

2)   Compile these resources in a web-based tool that allows researches to reconcile the complement of policies relevant to their work.

3)   Enhance the web resource with additional general information about licensing & copyright as they relate to research outputs, as well as international considerations.



-       A database of verified resources directly accessing stakeholder policies regarding research outputs

-       Full text documentation of these policies

-       Webpage providing access to the database & associated policy text


Success Metrics:

Success will be determined by visitation to the website. Web tracking metrics will include number of visitors (return and unique) and length of time spent on the site. Further indications of success will include any contacts initiated via the website, indicating community engagement.


Approximate Cost:

The proposed work will cost approximately $25K and will consist of 6 weeks of effort for an Analyst to compile the policy information, 3 weeks of effort for a web developer to setup a basic webpage to display the information, and some modest funds for promotional efforts.



Input for the proposed resource will be sought from personnel in the areas of research and research support, as well as policy. Council from relevant organizations, such as Creative Commons, will also be pursued.







This is a great idea, and very necessary!


A few ideas:

  • Given that we have easy programmatic access to researchers' publications (thanks to Profiles APIs) and potential access to databases of journal-specific policies, are there ways to offer custom advice to people?
  • If the primary success metric is how many people look at this, it would be useful to think about how to make this resource discoverable by end-users. For example, maybe work with the Profiles team to see if there are ways to send custom emails to targeted researchers, instead of waiting for them to access a static website.
  • Should someone from the library be a collaborator?

Thanks for the comment, to your points:

  • That is a very interesting idea! We would need to determine the point in the research lifecycle in which this information would be most useful / most likely to affect behavior (e.g. is it critical to know these policies prior to manuscript publication?)
  • Yes! Once the resource is established, outreach efforts should be pursued from all angles
  • Good point. The Library may even have the most appropriate analyst to do the policy compilation. We should consult with a variety of research support groups on campus in order to identify potential collaborators on this.

This is a very interesting idea, and something that would be very useful for researchers at UCSF and beyond. The Library is familiar with many of the institutional and governmental open access policy initiatives, and the copyright issues they bring up with regard to publishers. Many of these policies are also expanding to data management. This is definitely an area of interest to the Library.

This proposal identifies a "kink" in the otherwise smooth flow {joke} of developments in OpenAccess.  Clearly, an individual author/scientist finds it easier to "stay with the known" rather than dive into the "legal waters" of OpenAccess.  The compilation would be of great use, though my first impression is that the Creative Commons will be most important.  If other areas are discovered/compile, all the better.


Here is a problem I see, as a potential user:  "Full text" will be almost impossible to decipher with respect to the "effects" of a given action.  I would imagine that I would want to have "reviews/critiques" that use your database to show the consequences of a given action.  It might even be a FAQ: "What effect will it have to publish in OpenAccess, as compared with a journal that accepts the NIH publication policy?"  Answers to such questions, referecing the database would put the answers on a secure footing.


Another thing, that I didn't see mentioned is the issue of the regulations in DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.  While the majority of scientific publications come out of the U.S., many Journals are published in other countries, where the laws/rules may be different.  A complete compilation is too much for this proposal's resources, but perhaps a mention of extending the database at a future time to include more data (e.g., from other countries or non-English Journals) would show that your effort can be the start of something even more extensive, and valuable. 

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