Timeline of Notable Open Data Activities

The research community continues to shift toward more openness, with the goal of facilitating access and transparency in science. The timeline below features major activities and factors that have contributed to the growing movement of open data sharing both nationally and at the University of Michigan since 2013. The Research Data Stewardship Initiative aims to help U-M researchers better understand and achieve the goals of open data sharing, with an eye towards improving the transparency, rigor and impact of research and scholarship across all disciplines.


OSTP releases first public access memo

The Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) releases an influential memo on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research (PDF). The policy requires federal agencies that have at least $100 million in research expenditures to provide free and open access to federally funded research (both publications and data) within one year of publication. Example responses:

Journal data policies expand

As a sign of growing trends from publishers, Public Library of Science (PLOS) updates its data policy to require a Data Availability Statement for all manuscripts published in one of its journals. Other publishers and journals implement similar policies around this time including Nature and Science.


Gates Foundation implements open access policy

One of the first private funders to do so, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation implements an Open Access Policy for all grants awarded from January 1, 2015, and the policy is later expanded to explicitly include open data.


FAIR Principles introduced

One of the most common frameworks for cross-disciplinary discussions and actions around data sharing, the FAIR Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) are published in the article “The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship.

Deep Blue Data arrives

The U-M Library launches its institutional data repository, Deep Blue Data, to help U-M researchers share their data and provide broader access to U-M research.


Clinical trials join in

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) publishes a new policy on Data Sharing Statements for Clinical Trials, which requires all manuscripts submitted to ICMJE journals reporting the results of clinical trials to contain a data sharing statement. Additionally, the policy states that clinical trials “must include a data sharing plan in the trial’s registration.”

University groups issue recommendations

The Association of American Universities (AAU) & Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) release the Public Access Working Group Report and Recommendations  which “makes recommendations and summarizes actions that universities and federal agencies can take to advance public access to data in a viable and sustainable way.”


U.S. Government data goes open

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act is signed by the President and becomes law, requiring federal agencies to publish all their information as open data.

Open Science Roundtable forms

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine establishes the Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science to explore current incentives and barriers for adopting open science practices–particularly around publications and research data.

U-M report on public access created

U-M’s Public Access to Research Data Working Group Report is released, providing recommendations for how the institution can support researchers in making their data publicly accessible.


Guide for university leaders published

AAU & APLU released a more robust document, Guide to Accelerate Public Access to Research (PDF), aiming to help university administrators “develop robust support systems to accelerate sharing of research data.”

UNESCO issues recommendations

As a sign of widespread international support, UNESCO releases their Recommendation on Open Science to member states, including a strong emphasis on the benefits of sharing research data.


RDSI launches

U-M announces the Research Data Stewardship Initiative to help the U-M research community navigate the evolving research data landscape.

HELIOS launches with U-M as founding member

The Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS), a cohort of 70+ colleges and universities including University of Michigan, is formed to create collective action to advance open scholarship across their campuses.

ICPSR receives $38M grant

NSF selects the Institute of Social Research at U-M to oversee a $38 million grant to create “a new data platform that will help researchers across the gamut of scientific disciplines access, collect, store and secure vital information.”

CHIPS includes data management

The “CHIPS & Science Act” passes into law, which directs the NSF to require “every proposal for funding for research include a machine-readable data management plan that includes a description of how the awardee will archive and preserve public access to data, software, and code developed as part of the proposed project.”

New OSTP public access memo circulated

OSTP releases a memo on “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research,” which mandates that all research data “resulting from federally funded research should be made freely available and publicly accessible by default at the time of publication,” applying to all federal funding agencies.


New NIH data policy goes into effect

The New NIH Policy on Data Management and Sharing goes into effect January 25, 2023. Grant applications must include a Data Management and Sharing Plan. The DMS Policy applies to all research, funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH, that results in the generation of scientific data.