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Libraries and Librarians as Key Partners in Accelerating Public Access to Research Data

Last Updated on July 9, 2022, 9:50 am ET

Cover (cropped) of the Guide to Accelerate Public Access to Research DataThe Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) have released their Guide to Accelerate Public Access to Research Data, the result of two years of work and national summits as part of the Accelerating Public Access to Research Data (APARD) program.

As a tool and framework for university administrators—specifically provosts, senior research officers, and IT leaders—the four-part guide is meant to “facilitate adoption of new institutional policies, procedures, and approaches that actively support and promote research data sharing, while at the same time ensuring rigor in the research process and the veracity of its intellectual outputs.” Included throughout the guide are recommendations, actions, and institutional examples and case studies for public access to research data.

AAU and APLU will host a series of webinars in May 2021 focused on components of the guide. More information and details about registration are available on the AAU website.

Many Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member institutions participated in the two national summits in 2018 and 2021, and libraries are visible in the guide as providers of key infrastructure to support research data services across the institution. The guide is structured around the following components: (1) culture change, (2) technical and human infrastructure, (3) building capacity and buy-in, and (4) reflection on next steps.

Possible actions ARL member representatives can take with the release of the Guide to Accelerate Public Access to Research Data include:

  • Establish public access to research data as a library organization priority through incorporation into strategic plans, statements of principles, mission, and value statements.
  • Articulate the libraries’ role in accelerating public access to data with the mind frame of culture change. How is your library working from the bottom up (with faculty and graduate students), middle out (with department chairs and center directors) and top down (provosts, presidents, vice presidents for research, and others) to engage and influence public access to data?
  • Partner with campus stakeholders identified in the guide to begin mapping campus research data resources.

The ARL/CARL Joint Task Force on Research Data Services, chaired by Martha Whitehead (Harvard University), will publish its outcomes this spring and has been closely tracking the APARD work. The outcomes of the task force will include a high-level report on strategies for leading research data services on academic campuses, inclusive of strategies for institutional policy and infrastructure for research data services, and collaborations.