Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The shift toward publicly-funded research in the US

Jeffrey Brainard, Federal Funds for Academic Research Rose Sharply in 2003 While Industry Support Continued to Decline, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Federal funds for academic research [in the US] rose by 13.1 percent in 2003, the second straight year of double-digit increases, the National Science Foundation reported on Wednesday. The growth, coupled with a continuing drop in funds from industry, fueled an increase in the federal share of academic-research money to nearly 62 percent, its highest level since 1985. The numbers come from the NSF's annual "Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges." The survey is based on figures from the 2003 fiscal year, the most recent data reported by the agency.

Comment. If the US required OA to publicly-funded research (with reasonable exceptions e.g. for classified research), then we'd see a steady growth in the "market share" for OA to match the steady shift toward publicly-funded research. This may be an obvious point, but unfortunately it needs repeating. The NSF survey quantifies a continuing lost opportunity to accelerate research, increase the return on public investment, and serve the public interest.