By Bethany Drehman
In a letter sent out last week, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) commended the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE SC) for its “Statement on Digital Data Management.” The policy, which was released on July 28, fulfils the digital data sharing portion of the February 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy Memorandum and requires that applications for DOE research funding include a data management plan (DMP). FASEB highlighted the value of DMPs and stated its appreciation for DOE’s approach to supporting responsible digital data sharing.
In previous statements, FASEB has described many barriers to data sharing, including issues related to privacy, lack of relevant data repositories, and financial support. By allowing investigators to design a DMP tailored to their specific digital data, the DOE policy gives researchers the flexibility to navigate many of these barriers and challenges. The policy also allows investigators to consider cost-benefit analyses and feasibility when determining whether digital data should be stored and/or shared. FASEB recommended that DOE monitor implementation and outcomes of the policy and consider a just-in-time mechanism for submission of DMP’s.