One year ago, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) launched a Year of Open Science, announcing actions across the federal government to advance open, equitable, and secure research. Throughout 2023, federal agencies engaged with a wide range of communities—including students, researchers, universities, private companies, libraries, and foundations. These engagements build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s actions to ensure that that science and technology equitably benefits communities across the nation.
Activities were centered around five key themes:
- Strengthening Open Science Policies
- Investing in Open Science Infrastructures
- Supporting the Research Community in Building Open Science Skills
- Engaging Communities to Broaden Participation in Open Science
- Promoting Incentives for Open Research Practices
Highlights of key agency actions across these themes are highlighted below.
Strengthening Open Science Policies
The 2023 Year of Open Science came on the heels of OSTP’s Memorandum on “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research.” This guidance builds on the past decade of progress and collaboration across federal agencies, with updates to enhance equitable access to the products and processes of federally funded research and usher in new possibilities across the research enterprise.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Geological Society (USGS) voluntarily posted their updated or newly developed plans to align with OSTP’s 2022 Memorandum, promoting community engagement in the policy development process. In addition, 2023 saw open science policies and priorities go into effect, including:
- NIH’s Data Management and Sharing Policy went into effect on January 25, 2023, fulfilling the memorandum’s provisions around public access to scientific data.
- The NASA Scientific Mission Directorate’s Scientific Information Policy, which aligns fully with the 2022 memorandum’s policy provisions, began applying to solicitations for research released after February 14, 2023.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its Science and Research Strategy for 2023 – 2026, emphasizing open science as a mechanism to achieve transparency and equitable access to USDA-funded research.
Investing in Open Science Infrastructures
Increasing access to federally funded research while maintaining security and privacy requires a robust infrastructure that promotes the discovery and use of research results by diverse end users. In addition to infrastructure developments to support updated public access policies, agency launched the following actions:
- NSF invested $12.5 million into their Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable Open Science Research Coordination Networks (FAIROS-RCN) program. The cohort of 10, three-year, multi-institutional projects kicked off in 2023 to build and enhance national coordination among the research community, including around standards development, big data infrastructure, data system connection, educational opportunities, and pathways for collaboration.
- DOE launched PIDs@OSTI.GOV, a streamlined and unified site for its persistent identifier (PIDs) services, which offer services and support for assigning and using PIDs for research components such as data, software, text documents, awards, people, and organizations.
- Aligned with CDC Moving Forward, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is modernizing its data by adopting innovative data systems that quickly and accurately deliver information to CDC and the public.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities launched a grants competition to improve organization, search, discovery, and use of cultural heritage materials, providing funding to expand the openness of important cultural heritage resources.
Supporting the Research Community in Building Open Science Skills
The future and success of open science relies on a workforce that is able to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from openly accessible research. To that end, federal agencies have launched and advanced efforts around training and capacity development, including:
- NASA released Open Science 101, an introductory open science curriculum that can be taken through in-person or online workshops, and as an online course. This training has already been adapted by the Smithsonian Institution Carpentries internal training group, leveraging interdisciplinary coordination to support open science capacity building across its many museums and research units.
- NIST released version 1.5 of the NIST Research Data Framework, a resource that maps the research data landscape and provides a dynamic guide for various communities to understand best practices, costs, and benefits for research data management and dissemination. The Framework has been developed through extensive engagement, including a plenary hosted in September 2023 and a request for information issued over the summer.
- The Environmental Protection Agency completed an open science mentorship pilot program for five teams of over 20 scientists, who explored open science collaboration tools and open-source software options, while exchanging best practices.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries program is leading an Openscapes Mentors program advancing open science from 2023 through 2026 to support scientists, developers, and policy analysts in fulfilling open science principles, while promoting data-driven science and decision-making.
Engaging Communities to Broaden Participation in Open Science
In addition to training a workforce that is able to tap into and promote the potential of a more open research ecosystem, the U.S. government sought to create pathways to broaden participation in open science for aspiring researchers, members of the broader public, and the international community through a range of activities, including:
- OSTP hosted a series of four listening sessions with the early-career researcher community to understand their needs, experiences, and opportunities for advancing a future of open science in the United States.
- NASA launched its five-year Transform to Open Science (TOPS) mission, an ambitious plan to accelerate open science practices and major scientific discoveries by increasing understanding and adoption of open science practices and expanding participation of historically excluded communities.
- The Department of State, in collaboration with NSF and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, hosted a virtual International Open Science Dialogue, which attracted policymakers from around the globe and advanced awareness of the equitable and secure sharing of scientific knowledge.
- USGS hosted a broadly attended workshop on Open Data for Open Science, inspiring in-depth conversations around open data, the importance of the USGS Fundamental Science Practices in advancing open science, and what it means for research to be equitable.
- EPA piloted an air sensor loan program which created partnerships with eight library, museum, and Tribal community organizations to put air sensor technologies and educational resources in the hands of individuals and empower them to learn about local air quality.
- NIH, ACL, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Food and Drug Administration co-sponsored a workshop on Enhancing Public Access to the Results of Research Supported by the Department of Health and Human Services, with a focus on promoting equity in publication opportunities, and access and accessibility of publications by diverse communities of users.
Promoting Incentives for Open Research Practices
In addition to creating funding opportunities for open science projects, agencies worked to reward and recognize exemplary open science practices and promote a culture of open research. OSTP, working with the General Services Administration and several partner agencies, closed out the year by launching the White House OSTP Year of Open Science Recognition Challenge to recognize stories of how open science projects have addressed a particular challenge for the benefit of science and society. Showcasing these stories can inspire others to join this movement as we move from a Year of Open Science into a future for open, equitable, and secure research.
For more updates and activities advancing a future of open science, visit https://open.science.gov.