VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Comply with Public Access Mandates

Helpful information about government and other funder mandates for public access to articles and data generated by funded research.


Hillary Miller's picture
Hillary Miller
Cabell Library, 121-C
(804) 827-0462

What is Required for Public Access Mandates?

Funders are starting to recognize that the articles and data produced by the research they fund is most useful to society when it is made freely available to the public. Governments, foundations, charities, and other organizations are starting to require funded authors to make their articles and data available to the public. 

VCU Libraries can help you comply with these policies. We offer consultations on your copyright transfer agreements or data management plans, and our institutional repository, Scholars Compass, can be used to make articles or data available to the public.

What Should You Do?

1. Check for funder access policies when you apply for grants. How long an embargo will the funder allow? Six months, a year, or should it be immediately available. This guide will help you find the policies for many agencies.

2. Confirm that the publisher allows you to comply with the public access policy. Review the copyright transfer agreement or check the publisher/journal web site. Look for sections that allow you to check off your type of funding agency policy or mention deposit of your peer-reviewed manuscript in an institutional or public repository.

3. Do not sign any agreements that will not allow you to comply with the public access policy of your funders.

4. Retain a copy of your final, peer-reviewed manuscript, after changes but before publisher formatting. You will probably need this to comply with public access policies.

What about Data?

1. Data that supports tables and figures in your publications will need to be publicly accessible. There may also be requirements for how long you need to make your data available.

2. Check with your funder and grant description for data deposit requirements. You may be required to use a specific repository, or you may just need to provide the funder with a citation.

3. The VCU institutional repository, Scholars Compass, managed by VCU Libraries, can be used for data as well as articles, and it will provide a persistent URL you can send to publishers and long-term storage of your data and publications.

See also VCU's Intellectual Property Policy.

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