In May 2022, the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) released the Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research (DC-DR). As the title suggests, these guidelines are meant to provide funding agencies guidelines to be used when advising researchers on which repositories will meet data sharing and storage requirements. While there are many domain-specific and generalist repositories that can support researchers in sharing their data, we advocate that institutional repositories (IRs) have been, and remain, critical research infrastructure in ensuring open access to federally funded research. We are excited to share that, for the remainder of 2023, the Year of Open Science, the DCN will be working with IRs that host research data across the US to develop evaluative metrics for compliance with the DC-DR.

Our work will center on translating the DC-DR into the technical and service infrastructures of IRs that are dedicated to hosting and disseminating research data, or that include research data among their collections. We include in this definition repositories that host cultural heritage collections as data.  The DC-DR guidelines are intentionally broad. This was done deliberately by NSTC as a means of providing a baseline for all federally funded research while allowing different funding agencies or domains flexibility to meet the specific needs of their researchers. However, because these guidelines are broad, it can be difficult for repositories to know if they are adequately in alignment with them. Furthermore, it can be difficult for individual IRs to determine what decisions and actions they will need to make on their own. Working collectively as a community will facilitate a more consensus-driven, uniform response that will further support shared approaches and common baselines for IRs and the researchers who use them.   

While we are still developing our project plan, we wanted to share our general direction for feedback from the community. In order to support this work, we would like to:

  • Collaboratively develop evaluative metrics for demonstrating compliance with the DC-DR and to use these metrics as a means of advocating the IRs role in supporting campus research
  • Provide a virtual learning series focused on preparing IRs to align with the DC-DR
  • Documenting how IRs can influence both policies and technologies to align with the DC-DR
  • Explore the possibility of case studies demonstrating how different technical repository implementations can meet the DC-DR.

We will share more information about our project plans in the coming weeks! In the meantime, please connect with the DCN if you are interested in working with us.

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