Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 21, 2008

Victorian govt considering OA for PSI and publicly-funded research

Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, a discussion paper from the Economic Development and
Infrastructure Committee of the Victorian Parliament, July 2008.  (Thanks to Tom Worthington.)  Excerpt:

...Question 2: How can improved access to and re-use of PSI [public sector information] drive economic growth, employment opportunities and new commercial ventures? ...

Question 4: If the Victorian public sector is to provide increased access to information, what kind of information would provide the greatest opportunities to improve or develop: ...b) social, medical and scientific research? ...

2.1.1... Emerging evidence suggests that in some cases improved access to and re-use of PSI can increase net returns on investment by government, particularly when access to publicly funded research is improved [citing the important study from Houghton et al, 2006] .... Enhanced access to research may potentially increase the efficiency of R&D investment within scholarly and research communities by reducing duplication of research, and by increasing primary data and information available to researchers. In particular, improved access to R&D research could reduce the number of scientific studies that repeat ‘failed’ research hypotheses. The DEST report also suggested that wider access to PSI would encourage open scientific inquiry and collective learning; allow closer interrogation of research findings and conclusions; and provide researchers with increased opportunities to identify and explore issues not considered in original research briefs, through a re-examination of primary research data.... Another argument for enhanced access to PSI is that it would increase and broaden opportunities for commercial exploitation of research data. Improved access to government research data and information could also potentially benefit the private sector by allowing it to draw on government knowledge and experiences to improve the quality of services, and thereby increase the productivity of the private sector in the economy. The general community can potentially benefit through the development of informed citizens and informed consumers, who by having greater access to research publications and government information would better equip themselves to make efficient use of public and private sector services. An informed community could also, potentially, contribute more actively to the development of effective, efficient, and productive public policy....

Comment.  The committee is soliciting public comments on the paper, which are due by August 22, 2008.  (See the submission details here and on p. ix of the report.)  After digesting the comments, the committee will report back to Parliament by June 30, 2009.  I urge Australians, and especially Victorians, to submit comments to the committee in support of OA for publicly-funded research.