Draft report from Australian government recommends OA mandate (fwd)

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Tue Nov 14 06:06:21 EST 2006

        From Peter Suber's Open Access News
    Draft report from Australian government recommends OA mandate
	The Australian Government Productivity Commission has
	released an important study, Public Support for Science
	and Innovation: Draft Research Report (November 2,
	2006).	(Thanks to Colin Steele.)

    Impediments to the functioning of the innovation system [:]....There
    is scope for the ARC and the NHMRC to play a more active role than
    they currently do in promoting access to the results of research
    they fund. They could require as a condition of funding that research
    papers, data and other information produced as a result of
    their funding are made publicly available such as in an "open
    access" repository.
    The Australian Government has sought to enhance access to the results
    of publicly funded research through the:

    - development of an Accessibility Framework for Publicly Funded
    Research; and 

    - allocation of funding under the Systemic Infrastructure Initiative
    to build technical information infrastructure that supports the
    creation, dissemination of and access to knowledge, and the use of
    digital assets and their management (box 5.10)....

    In a recent report to DEST, Houghton et al. (2006) estimated net
    gains from improving access to publicly-funded research across the
    board and in particular research sectors (table 5.2).

    - The estimated benefits from an assumed 5 per cent increase in access
    and efficiency and level of social rate of return were between $2
    million (ARC competitively-funded research) and $628 million (gross
    expenditure on R&D).

    - Assuming a move from this level of improved access and efficiency
    to a national system of institutional repositories in Australia over
    twenty years, the estimated benefit/cost ratios were between 3.1
    (NHMRC-funded research) to 214 (gross expenditure on R&D)....

    Of interest, is whether funding agencies themselves could become
    more actively involved in enhancing access to the results of the
    research they fund....

    In their recent report to DEST, Houghton et al. (2006) 
    made a number of suggestions to improve access to and dissemination
    of research including:

    - developing a national system of institutional or enterprise-based
    repositories to support new modes of enquiry and research; ...

    - ensuring that the Research Quality Framework supports and encourages
    the development of new, more open scholarly communication
    mechanisms, rather than encouraging "a retreat" by researchers
    to conventional publication forms and media, and a reliance by
    evaluators upon traditional publication metrics (for example, by
    ensuring dissemination and impact are an integral part of evaluation);

    - encouraging funding agencies (for example, ARC and NHMRC) to mandate
    that the results of their supported research be made available in
    open access archives and repositories;

    - encouraging universities and research institutions to support the
    development of new, more open scholarly communication mechanisms,
    through, for example, the development of "hard or soft open access"
    mandates for their supported research; and

    - providing support for a structured advocacy program to raise
    awareness and inform all stakeholders about the potential benefits
    of more open scholarly communication alternatives, and provide
    leadership in such areas as copyright (for example, by encouraging
    use of "creative commons" licensing) (pp. xii-xiii)....

    Several impediments to innovation should be addressed: ...
    - published papers and data from ARC and NHMRC-funded projects should
    be freely and publicly available....


    Comment [from Peter Suber]: It's important that this report was
    written by a government commission and important that it recommends
    an OA mandate.

    From the file of preliminaries:
        You are invited to examine this draft research study and to
        provide written submissions to the Commission. Submissions should
        reach the Commission by Thursday, 21 December 2006.  In addition,
        the Commission intends to hold a limited number of consultations
        to obtain feedback on this draft.

        The Commission intends to present its final report to the
        Government in early March 2007.

    The Productivity Commission gives no address (and worse, no email
    address) specifically for comments, but it does give this contact
    info for its Media and Publications division:

            Locked Bag, 
            2 Collins Street 
            East Melbourne VIC 8003 
            Fax: (03) 9653 2303 
            Email: maps at pc.gov.au

    [Peter Suber, Open Access News]

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list