NIH Releases Public Access Plan for Public Feedback

NIH has long championed principles of transparency and accessibility in NIH-funded research. As such, NIH supports the August 2022 OSTP Memorandum directing federal agencies to expedite access to results of federally funded research. The NIH Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research (NIH’s Public Access Plan) provides a roadmap for how NIH will enhance access to research products, namely scholarly publications and scientific data, and will ensure these research products are useful and accessible to the public. 

NIH’s Public Access Plan is now available for public comment. Comments will be accepted until April 24, 2023 and can be submitted through the comment portal found here

For a perspective on how NIH is approaching public access, please see a blog from the leadership of OSP, NLM, OER, OIR, and ODSS on the steps NIH is taking to ensure we maximize access to taxpayer-funded researcher.   Questions may be sent to [email protected].  Also, please consider following us on Twitter @NIH_OSP

Advancing the Promise of Open Science: We Want to Hear from You!

Dr. Brennan
Dr. Schor
Dr. Gregurick
Dr. Lauer

This blog has been co-authored with Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan (Director, National Library of Medicine); Dr. Nina Schor (NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research); Dr. Susan Gregurick (NIH Associate Director for Data Science); and Dr. Michael Lauer (NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research).

It is only February, but this has already been a busy year with respect to open science. First off, the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy) became effective January 25, 2023! As you most likely know by now, the DMS Policy requires NIH-supported researchers to prospectively plan for how scientific data will be preserved and shared. We know that sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, leads to cures, and supports transparency, so we see this as a huge step forward for open science.

Implementation of the DMS Policy has been a big undertaking over the last few years, and we are grateful to our colleagues throughout the scientific enterprise for your continued engagement. Your feedback has resulted in providing valuable resources to support the community at, including Frequently Asked Questions and other guidance. We also want to acknowledge our NIH colleagues who worked across the agency to seamlessly ensure that WE were ready to meet this important moment.

Open science is a priority at NIH and across the U.S. Federal Government. Earlier this year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) declared 2023 to be the Year of Open Science. This OSTP announcement included details on actions being taken across the Federal Government to advance national open science policy, provide access to the results of taxpayer-supported research, accelerate discovery and innovation, promote public trust, and drive more equitable outcomes. Keen observers on this topic will also remember that OSTP issued guidance in August 2022 on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research, asking agencies to accelerate access to data and publications.

Today, we are pleased to announce that the “NIH Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research” (NIH’s Public Access Plan) is now available for public review and comment. We are issuing this Plan in response to the OSTP memo and also because it is consistent with NIH’s longstanding commitment to open science. This Plan builds upon the strong foundation of the NIH Public Access Policy which, since 2008, has made over 1.4 million articles describing NIH-supported research available to the public through PubMed Central. As you will see, the Plan builds on what we currently do, and we expect to maintain many current practices. But importantly, we ultimately plan to institute a zero-embargo period on publications so that research results are freely available to the public without delay.

It is important to keep in mind that this Plan is not a proposed policy, but a roadmap of steps NIH will take to enhance access to research products.  Any future updates to the NIH Public Access Policy will, in turn, be released as a draft for public comment. Also, to loop back to the DMS Policy—we expect that the DMS Policy will meet all expectations related to data sharing in the OSTP memo.

The NIH Public Access Plan also provides preliminary considerations on the issue of metadata and persistent identifiers, as described in the OSTP memo. Persistent identifiers contribute to the findability of research products (publications, data, software, etc.) and ensure that appropriate credit for use of those products is maintained. This is another area where public input is needed to inform NIH’s future plans. We will ensure that there will be lots of opportunities to engage on this topic and others over the next months and years.

We also want to take a moment to let you know how the Intramural Research Program at NIH is doing its part to ensure that the research NIH conducts meets the expectations of open science and data sharing.  All scientists at NIH must submit and have an approved data management and sharing plan for all research studies.  Studies involving human participants must have an approved data management and sharing plan in place as a prerequisite for Institutional Review Board review.  Additionally, annual reports of studies must indicate how the investigators have complied with their approved plans.

So far 2023 has been a productive beginning to what is shaping up to be a great year for open science. NIH is fully committed to realizing the expectations of the Biden Administration when it comes to open science. We encourage anyone with an interest in this space to review the NIH Public Access Plan and provide feedback. Comments on the NIH Public Access Plan will be accepted until 11:59 PM on April 24, 2023.  Comments can be submitted via our online portal at:

Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
NIH Associate Director for Science Policy
About Lyric

NIH to Host Workshop on Using Public Engagement to Inform the Use of Data in Biomedical Research

NIH will be hosting a workshop on February 27, 2023, to discuss how public feedback can help inform the use of new types of data (e.g., wearable devices, smart sensors, social media), new types of analysis (e.g., Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning), and data linkage and aggregation in research.  The meeting will feature discussion panels to share key points and themes from community conversations NIH has held across the country on the uses of personal health data in research.  The panels will also feature discussion from ethicists, biomedical researchers, technology engineers and developers, public health experts, and clinician researchers who might utilize novel technologies to generate data.  

The discussions will be used to help inform deliberations related to the latest charge to the Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee. It will also help inform OSP’s ongoing efforts to ensure public engagement is at the foundation of policy development. 

The workshop will begin at 12:00 pm ET and end at 8:00 pm ET and be webcast to the public. Additionally, opportunities to raise questions for discussion during the meeting will be provided for members of the public. Full information, including agenda and webcast information, will be posted at: If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]. You can also follow us on Twitter: @NIH_OSP

Building a Solid Policy Foundation Through Meaningful Engagement

If you have visited the OSP website in the last month, you’ve likely noticed it has a new look and feel.  Of course, a few changes were aesthetic, but most were made with one purpose in mind: making information easier to find and use. Hopefully you’ll agree that we’ve achieved that goal with our new design. 

Transparency is a word we use in government quite a bit but putting it into action can be tough. The internet is a big place – simply posting documents online fulfills the transparency mandate but does it actually provide value to users? To understand more about providing value to our users, and as a team of folks committed to evidence-based decision-making, we reached out to a variety of individuals in different positions and roles and asked them to test drive our website. We are grateful for their time and their honesty, as we received candid feedback about their experience on our site. 

I’d like to highlight two significant changes we made based on some of the feedback we heard. First, while the organization and flow may be common sense to those of us with a nuanced understanding of governmental lingo and structure, it was less intuitive to those seeking policy information. Now you will find policies front and center, grouped thematically under policy areas. In doing so we removed redundant clicks. And for those of us who just like to google and see exactly what we need, we put a lot of our efforts into making the search feature highly responsive. The second thing we heard is that getting involved in policymaking still can feel like a black box. I firmly believe engaging your government is a civic duty, so I took this one to heart. Now you will find a new “Get Involved” page which contains information on open requests for information, compiled comments for previous requests, as well as information on upcoming meetings where the public can participate.  

Our approach to our website reflects our approach to policy-making: meaningful engagement and transparency is the key to success. 

You’ll see we are trying new engagement approaches in a variety of settings. For example, as part of the NExTRAC’s latest charge experts are engaging communities across the US to understand community values and preferences about sharing personal health data to inform NIH’s future policy efforts on this topic. No small feat as individual preferences are just that – individual. But how do we consider all these varying perspectives when making policy? Step one is making sure we hear them.  

To put it succinctly, making policy must be a shared experience.  OSP wants to hear from all communities that are potentially affected by the policies we are developing.  The unique perspectives diverse audiences bring to the table will help us ensure we are making the best, most-informed decisions.  Whether it is our website or a major policy relating to the latest scientific breakthrough, OSP is committed to making the voice of the community heard.

Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
NIH Associate Director for Science Policy
About Lyric