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arrowPolicy Statement on Public Access to Data Resulting from IES Funded Grants

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is committed to advancing education research through providing access to scientific data collected through its grant-funded research programs. Such access provides opportunities for other researchers to review, confirm or challenge study findings, which is an important aspect of the scientific process. In addition, providing access to data can enhance scientific inquiry through a variety of other analytic activities, including the use of shared data to: test alternative theories or hypotheses; explore different sets of research questions than those targeted by the original researchers; combine data from multiple sources to provide potential new insights and areas of inquiry; and/or conduct methodological studies to advance education research methods and statistical analyses.

The purpose of this document is to describe IES policy on providing access to research data collected through grants funded by its two research centers: the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research. Starting with the release of the FY2013 Request for Applications researchers applying for Goal Four Effectiveness grants under competitions 84.305A for Education Research or 84.324A for Special Education Research were required to include a data management plan (DMP) in their application. This requirement was extended to include Goal Three Efficacy and Replication grants under these competitions starting in FY2015, and to the Research Networks on Critical Problems of Policy and Practice (84.305N) competition for FY2016. For the purposes referred to in this policy statement, final research data are the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to document and support research findings.1 For most studies, an electronic file will constitute the final research data. This data set will include the final, cleaned data and may include both original data and derived variables which will be fully described in accompanying documentation.

Specific instructions for including the DMP in applications were included in the Request for Applications for these two grant competitions. All Goal Four Effectiveness and Goal Three Efficacy applications must include a plan that describes the data to be shared, the method of sharing (e.g., through the Principal Investigator or data repository), the written documentation that will accompany the data, the plan for preventing disclosure of personally identifiable information, and the timeline and costs for data sharing.

Researchers funded by IES must be committed to protecting the rights and privacy of human subjects at all times. Providing access to data must not compromise this commitment. IES recognizes that data sharing may be complicated or limited by institutional policies, local Institutional Review Board (IRB) rules, as well as state and Federal laws and regulations that address issues of the rights and privacy of human subjects. Strategies for making data accessible should be addressed early in the planning process to allow time necessary to work with IRBs and those within the education settings to be studied. It is the responsibility of the researchers to develop a DMP that protects the rights of study participants and confidentiality of the data, as required by their IRB and state and Federal laws and regulations. Data that are to be shared should be free of identifiers that would allow linkages to individuals participating in the research as well as other elements that could lead to deductive disclosure of the individual study participants. If researchers believe that full data sharing is not possible, they must provide a written rationale.

IES expects timely release of shared data files following the completion of a research study. In general, IES anticipates that the data will be shared no later than the acceptance of the main findings from the final study dataset in a peer-reviewed scholarly publication and that data will be available for at least 10 years. This implies that in most cases, the final dataset may not be completed and prepared for sharing until after the grant has been completed. Nonetheless, when the Principal Investigator and the authorized institutional official sign the cover page of the 84.305A Education Research or 84.324A Special Education Research grant application, they will be assuring compliance with IES policy on providing access to data as well as other policies and regulations governing research awards.

Researchers may include the cost of data sharing in their grant application budget requests. This can include the costs of preparing and archiving the data to be shared, and preparing the data documentation.

At this time, peer review panels will not rate the DMP in their scoring of the scientific merit of the application. IES staff will be responsible for overseeing the data sharing policy and for assessing the appropriateness and adequacy of the data management plan and associated costs.

Information on the IES policy on public access to research is available on the IES website at {website for landing page (IES Policy Regarding Public Access to Research). This page includes links to the policies regarding publications and access to data In addition, the FY 2016 Request for Applications for Education Research (84.305A) and Special Education Research (84.324A) also provide information on preparing and submitting a DMP with the application.


Website IES Policy Regarding Public Access to Research

Implementation Guide for Public Access to Research Data

Frequently Asked Questions About Providing Public Access to Data

1 Final research data does not mean summary statistics or tables, but rather the factual information on which summary statistics and tables are based. For the purposes of this policy, final research data do not include laboratory notebooks, partial datasets, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer review reports, or communications with colleagues.