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arrowIES Policy Regarding Public Access to Research

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is committed to improving the public’s access to the direct results of Federally funded research. By facilitating access to findings presented in peer-reviewed scholarly publications as well as the scientific data used to generate the findings, IES supports the scientific process and maximizes the impact of its investments. IES implements this goal through the IES Policy Regarding Public Access to Research, Parts I and II as described below. Together, the policy components support several core objectives associated with high-quality research including:

  • the use of transparent research methods;
  • opportunities for researchers to review, confirm, challenge, or extend published findings; and
  • opportunities for researchers to conduct meta-analytic or methodological studies drawing upon data from multiple studies.

Through successful implementation of this policy, IES intends to increase researchers’ opportunities for collaboration and scientific discovery, thereby increasing the volume of research that addresses the largest challenges in education.

The IES Policy is aligned with the U.S. Department of Education's Plan and Policy Development Guidance for Public Access, which was approved October 21, 2016.

PDF File View, download, and print the full plan as a PDF file (626 KB)

IES Public Access to Research Policy Part I: Public Access to Publications Resulting from IES-funded Research

Grantees and contractors must submit the electronic version of their final manuscripts to ERIC upon acceptance for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or as a final deliverable by the Department. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for publication (or delivery) and includes all modifications from the peer (or program office) review process. ERIC makes citation of submitted studies available shortly after submission. ERIC makes the final manuscript available 12 months after the publication of the article, unless the publisher allows for earlier display. Grantees and contractors should ensure that publishing agreements stemming from IES-funded research, including copyright assignments with publishers or other third parties, are consistent with the requirements of this policy.

This public access requirement applies to most peer-reviewed publications supported through IES research and training program grants and contracts since FY 2012. Specifically, the requirement applies to peer-reviewed, original scholarly publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct funding from IES, although it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or non-peer-reviewed conference proceedings. For cases in which IES has not published the findings from a research contract, contractors must submit any peer-reviewed scholarly publications to ERIC. Researchers receiving grants or contracts prior to FY 2012 are encouraged, but not required, to submit publications from IES-funded grants and contracts to ERIC. Researchers who author publications that are published by IES do not need to submit their work to ERIC.

The ERIC website includes a homepage for the Grantee and Online Submission System, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions page. During the submission process, authors must submit bibliographic information for the publication including title, authors, publication date, journal title, and associated IES award number(s). Authors must also review and acknowledge the terms and conditions of their submission.

Do you have a grant or contract awarded after September 2011? If no, submitting your work to ERIC is optional. If yes, is your work published by IES? If it is, IES will submit it to ERIC. If it is not, you must submit your final, peer-reviewed manuscript to ERIC.

IES Public Access to Research Policy Part II: Public Access to Data Resulting from IES-funded Grants

Investigators leading IES-funded projects testing the causal impact of policies, practices, and/or interventions are required to include a data management plan (DMP) in their application that facilitates access to the final research data used to generate published research findings. The final research data are the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to document and support research findings. For most studies, a set of electronic files will constitute the final research data and will include: a data file with the final analytic measures as well as the source measures used to construct them; a codebook describing all measures included in the data file; and the syntax file(s) necessary to convert the source measures to analytic measures. This requirement applies to research data collected through evaluation projects funded by the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research through multiple grant programs. The Request for Applications (RFA) specific to each grant clarifies the presence (or absence) of this requirement. This requirement also applies to contracts funded by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, in cases where the contract does not require that the contractor provide their final data set to IES as part of the contract (beginning in FY 2016).

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for developing a DMP that extends access to the final research data while protecting the rights of study participants and confidentiality of the data, consistent with the requirements of the responsible Institutional Review Board (IRB) as well as applicable state and Federal laws and regulations. The DMP should specify appropriate restrictions on access to and usage of the data to ensure protection of human subjects while not unduly restricting access to the data. Contractors must also propose a DMP at the start of each project. The DMP includes these main components: the data to be shared, the method of sharing, 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. If an applicant believes that they cannot share part or all of the data that they propose to collect for a project, they must still submit a DMP with their application (see specific guidance below).

IES expects PIs to fully implement a project’s DMP no later than the date when a publication accepts the main evaluation findings generated from the final study dataset. The DMP should remain in effect for at least 10 years. These requirements imply that in many cases the final dataset may not be completed and available for sharing until after the grant has been completed. Researchers may include the cost of data sharing in their grant application budget requests. These costs can include the costs of preparing and archiving the data to be shared, as well as costs associated with preparing the required data documentation.

Specific instructions for specifying a DMP in grant applications are included in the RFAs for each grant program covered by this policy. For covered grants, applicants must include a DMP in their application package for their application to be sent forward for review. However, peer review panels do not rate the DMP in their scoring of the scientific merit of applications. Rather, IES staff oversees the data sharing policy and assesses the appropriateness and adequacy of each data management plan and its associated costs. When staff deems a DMP inadequate to meet the policy requirements, they work with the applicant to revise the DMP during the clarification question phase, prior to awarding of grant funds. Grantees must report on the implementation of their DMP annually.

Additional guidance for writing and implementing a DMP is provided in the Implementation Guide for Public Access to Research Data, and at the Frequently Asked Questions About Providing Public Access To Data page.