"The Cost and Price of Public Access to Research Data: A Synthesis"

Beginning on or before 31 December 2025, all recipients of United States federal research funding will be required to make their federally funded scholarly outputs, including scientific data, freely available via public access venues with no delays or embargos. This paper focuses on research data as one of the key scholarly output types impacted by the requirements outlined in the Memorandum on Ensuring Free, Immediate and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research issued by the US Office of Science and Technology Policy ?OSTP?, commonly called the "Nelson memo."

This paper sets out working definitions of four key terms: cost, price, reasonable, and allowable. Using these terms, we describe some of the pathways research data take to final publication, and summarize some of the extensive body of research on the costs of research data curation and sharing. We conclude that, for repositories leveraging sources of revenue other than deposit fees or other revenue streams that do not immediately scale up with increased deposits, sustainability is an important concern.

In the process, we look at cost modelling experimentation in the fields of research data management and digital preservation to consider what might be relevant from their approaches. Labour is the most significant cost for repositories and data curation, particularly in support of ingest and access, although the actual cost of data curation in repositories varies by discipline, characteristics of data, and level of curatorial services provided. If "reasonable” cost is not readily generalizable, greater clarity regarding allowable activities and more transparency in repositories" costs would aid researchers and funders in evaluating whether any deposit, membership, or other form of fees that are charged are appropriate for the services rendered. Where some or all of the effort associated with meeting public access requirements is performed by members of the research team, costs could be properly allocated to research and to publication components of grant budgets.


| Research Data Curation and Management Works |
| Digital Curation and Digital Preservation Works |
| Open Access Works |
| Digital Scholarship |

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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.