Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, January 21, 2008

Business leaders support OA for publicly-funded research, again

Harnessing Openness to Transform American Health Care, a new report from the Digital Connections Council of the Committee for Economic Development, January 2008.  (Thanks to Rick Johnson.)  From the executive summary:

The Digital Connections Council (DCC) of the Committee for Economic Development (CED)...has found that an increased degree of openness often leads to greater innovation because it allows contributions to a work from more individuals whose differing insights and experiences can add considerable value....

The report focuses first on the area of biomedical research. This realm is being transformed by the success of the Human Genome Project (HGP). By mapping the human genome, the HGP demonstrated the possibilities of mass collaboration and the beneficial results of allowing data to be accessed immediately and manipulated by researchers around the world. The progeny of the HGP have adopted this open model and are flourishing by sharing data, applications, and even network resources. The Council recommends that the federal research agencies push further by enunciating clear policies favoring openness....

Amendments to the FDA’s enabling legislation in 2007 addressed these issues in part, but there are additional ways in which greater openness can improve clinical trials and post-approval surveillance. Most important for improved healthcare research is to make the trial results and the data underlying trials more accessible more quickly in a form that is searchable and computable using common standards. In addition, applicants for FDA approval should be required to submit all studies they have conducted on the intervention with any safety-related results being made publicly available....

The Council recommends federal support for earlier and expanded accessibility to results and data, and, more specifially, the passage of legislation that would mandate public access to results of most unclassified government-funded research no later than six months after publication. Major government funders of research should also be receptive to requests for funding for the publication of research results in open-access journals....

From the body of the report:

Recommendations Regarding Openness and
Publishing and Disclosure of Research Results

The explicit policy of the federal government should be to promote the broadest possible access to research results in the healthcare arena, particularly government- supported research.

The principles of the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act [FRPAA] should be enacted into law.

The federal government should not discriminate among models for publication/disclosure.

Those federal agencies supporting research should positively respond to requests for funding to pay for publication/disclosure of sponsored research....

Comment.  The CED is a non-profit organization of business leaders dedicated to public policy research.  This is not the first time the CED has endorsed OA.  Also see its April 2006 report, Open Standards, Open Source, and Open Innovation:  Harnessing the Benefits of Openness, which recommended that the NIH strengthen and extend its OA policy.

Update. Also see the short article in Wired Science for February 8, 2008.