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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Executive Summary – USDOT Public Access Plan

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Executive Summary of USDOT Public Access Plan

White House Directive Specifics

The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy’s (OSTP’s) Feb. 22, 2013 memorandum Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research describes new requirements for providing public access to federally funded scientific research publications and digital data sets. OSTP directed all Executive Departments with greater than $100 million in yearly research and development expenditures to prepare a plan for improving the public’s access to the results of federally funded research. The requirements of each plan apply to researchers both within the Federal Government (intramural) and in organizations funded by the Federal Government (extramural).

White House Required Public Access Plan Components

Each sponsoring agency’s plan must contain:

  • a strategy for leveraging existing archives, where appropriate;
  • a strategy for improving the public’s ability to locate and access digital data;
  • an approach for optimizing search, archival, and dissemination features, while ensuring long-term stewardship of the results;
  • a plan for notifying awardees and other federally funded scientific researchers of their obligations (e.g., through guidance, conditions of awards, and/or regulatory changes); and
  • an agency strategy for measuring and enforcing compliance with its plan.
The USDOT Response

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT’s) public access plan is focused on three areas: 
Publications: Final manuscripts accepted for publication should be submitted to the National 
Transportation Library (NTL), which has a MAP-21 (49 USC 6304) mandate to be the central repository for USDOT research and technical reports and a clearinghouse for Government transportation data. 
Data: Intramural researchers will follow USDOT’s existing Data Release Policy and both intramural and extramural researchers will have to submit a data management plan for approval. The plan will ensure metadata describing research digital data sets and the terms of access and use are made accessible via the DOT Public Data Listing required under OMB Circular M-13-13. 
Projects: The plan proposes a simple Research Project Record process using a persistent identifier or similar method for identifying and connecting publications and data sets, enabling NTL to locate data related to publication to refer requestors/researchers, and serve as compliance and reporting mechanism via NTL Digital Repository.

  • “DOT-managed” = DOT contracts/grants/cooperative agreements and DOT-funded (independent of Federal funding source, “R&D” label).
  • Excludes funding flowed to states from Federal Aid programs (SP&R, NCHRP).
  • Includes shared funded where Feds manage: pooled fund, etc.
Information Not Covered by These Requirements

Public access to publications and data must honor and protect:

  • confidentiality and personal privacy;
  • proprietary interests and business confidential information;
  • intellectual property rights;
  • national and homeland security; and
  • other exemptions and protections provided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
What Every Extramural Researcher Needs to Know

If you apply for research funds from the USDOT under contract, grant, or cooperative agreement, you will be required to submit a data management plan for approval. Your plan must identify a repository for your data that is accessible by NTL; your metadata will be included in DOT Enterprise Data Inventory.

Elements of the data management plans (DMPs) include:

  • project description;
  • description of data to be collected (method of collection, formats, metadata, and other standards);
  • plans for short-term storage and access;
  • legal issues (intellectual property, personally identifiable information);
  • preservation and archiving; and
  • unique permanent identifiers for all publications, authors and data sets for correlation of articles with authors and relevant underlying data.

All final peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for publication; intramural, technical, or final reports; and/or scientific research project written deliverables (e.g., technical/final reports) that you produce under a DOT contract or grant must be submitted to NTL under a non-exclusive license agreement. These publications will be made publicly available after an embargo period of 12 months following publication.

Recommended Page Citation

United States. Department of Transportation. (2022). Executive Summary – USDOT Public Access Plan.