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Jan 12 -- The Census Bureau seeks comments on the Draft U.S. Census Bureau Plan for Providing Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research. The Census Bureau is taking steps to make its scientific data and publications more readily available and accessible by the public, as directed in an August 2022 Memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The Census Bureau's Public Access Plan applies to the results of research funded wholly or in part by the Census Bureau, presented in peer-reviewed scholarly publications including book chapters and peer-reviewed conference proceedings as appropriate, and scientific data as defined in the OSTP Memo. The document outlines the Census Bureau's plan for implementing new requirements to manage the public access of scientific data and publications. Public comments received on the Public Access Plan will inform Census Bureau as it develops policies and procedures to implement the Plan. Responses must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 12, 2024 to be considered.

The U.S. Census Bureau (Census Bureau) mission is to serve as the nation's leading provider of quality data about its people and economy. This can be accomplished in part through equitable delivery of federally funded research results and data.

The Census Bureau publishes this notice to seek comments on the Draft U.S. Census Bureau Plan for Providing Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research. The Census Bureau developed this Public Access Plan in response to a public access memorandum, Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on August 25, 2022 which expanded on the February 22, 2013, memorandum Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research and brought the Census Bureau's research activities in scope.

The Draft U.S. Census Bureau Plan for Providing Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research applies to the results of research funded wholly or in part by the Census Bureau, presented in peer-reviewed scholarly publications including book chapters and peer-reviewed conference proceedings as appropriate, and “scientific data” as defined in the OSTP memorandum. This Public Access Plan, promotes the following objectives:

• Fulfill the requirement in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP's) August 25, 2022, memorandum subject “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” to develop a Public Access Plan.
• Reaffirm the Census Bureau's commitments to promote open science including reproducibility and trust in federal statistics; be transparent with respondents about how their data is used; and protect respondent privacy and confidentiality.
• Ensure effective access to and reliable preservation of Census Bureau peer-reviewed scholarly publications and digital scientific data for use in research, development, education, and scientific discovery by depositing them in appropriate repositories, including data repositories that align with the OSTP's guidance on “Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research.”

The Census Bureau Public Access Plan was reviewed by the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, and those comments have been addressed in the plan being posted for comment.

The Census Bureau invites respondents to comment on the plan including, but not limited to, the following questions that pertain to the implementation its new public access plan:

-- What are the best practices (from academia, industry, and other stakeholder communities) in managing public access of data and research results?
-- What are the biggest challenges to implementing a public access policy, and how can these challenges be addressed?
-- How can the Census Bureau ensure equity in publication opportunities?
-- How can the Census Bureau ensure public access and accessibility to outputs of Census Bureau-funded research?
-- How can the Census Bureau monitor impacts on affected communities—authors and readers alike?
-- How can the Census Bureau improve the plan to provide greater public access to Census Bureau-funded research results?

OSTP Issues Guidance to Make Federally Funded Research Freely Available Without Delay (Aug 2022): https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/news-updates/2022/08/25/ostp-issues-guidance-to-make-federally-funded-research-freely-available-without-delay/
Census draft plan: https://www.census.gov/about/policies/open-gov.html
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-00538

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