Governments should improve access to publicly funded research, finds OECD report


22/09/2005 - Governments would boost innovation and get a better return on their investment in publicly funded research if they made research findings more widely available, according to a new OECD report on the scientific publishing industry.

The increasing online availability of research data is changing research practices and the growing trend of making primary data sources directly accessible is changing the business models of the scientific publishing industry, the report finds.

Findings of the report include:

  • Scientific publishing embraced on-line distribution early with an estimated 75% of published scholarly journals already available online, and three major business models depending on digital delivery are emerging:

  -The so-called "Big Deal", where institutional and other subscribers pay for access to an online digital content aggregation of journal titles   through licensing arrangements.
 -Open access publishing, where authors and/or their employing or funding organisations pay some or all of the costs of publication.
 -Open access archives and repositories, where organisations support institutional repositories and/or subjects.

  • Change is being driven by: users needing to access increasing volumes of research data and information, new ICT applications and development of digital content and digital access technologies, and greater cost transparency and competition in publishing and distribution of information.
  • In the immediate future there is likely to be a period of experimentation around various versions of open access publishing, including "author pays" and the emergence of a range of hybrids.

Among its recommendations are that:

  • Governments should increase access to findings from publicly funded research to maximise social returns on public investments. 
  • This principle was underlined in the 2004 OECD Science Ministerial’s Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding  which recognised that open access to, and unrestricted use of, data promotes scientific progress and facilitates the training of researchers.
  • Coordinated efforts at national and international levels are needed to broaden access to data from publicly funded research and contribute to the advancement of scientific research and innovation.

For further information, please contact Graham VickerySacha Wunsch-Vincent  on + 33 1 45 24 86 11. The study is part of a broader project on digital content.


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