Cambridge UK academics, businesses and the public have been alerted that they will receive easier access to publicly funded research in an initiative designed to boost technology R & D across a range of sectors.Universities and Science Minister David Willetts reveals today that the Government is to widely accept the recommendations in a report on open access by Dame Janet Finch.
The move is likely to see a major increase in the number of taxpayer-funded research papers freely available to the public.
Currently most formally published research is only available behind restricted paywalls. Reforms will see publications opened up to a greater audience, providing more opportunities for research and development across a whole range of industries and research fields.
They will also support the commercial exploitation of research, contributing to the Government’s economic growth agenda.
David Willetts said: “Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer funded research will have real economic and social benefits. It will allow academics and businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and herald a new era of academic discovery.
“This development will provide exciting new opportunities and keep the UK at the forefront of global research to drive innovation and growth.”
The UK’s research and information tsar, Professor Doug Kell added: “Widening access to the outputs of research currently published in journals has the potential to contribute substantially to furthering the progress of scientific and other research, ensuring that the UK continues to be a world leader in these fields.
“I am delighted that, together, the Research Councils have been able both to harmonise and to make significant changes to their policies, ensuring that more people have access to cutting edge research that can contribute to both economic growth in our knowledge economy and the wider wellbeing of the UK.”
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have also welcomed the report and will be making open access published research the basis for the Research Excellence Framework from 2014.
The details of how these measures should be developed will be worked on by funders in consultation with universities, research institutions, authors and publishers.