Today’s Guardian newspaper carries several articles about publicly-funded research. An article by Alok Jha, science correspondent, headlines the advisor Jimmy Wales’ contribution to helping make taxpayer-funded research freely available online. However the core of the article is that Dame Janet Finch is to report on how an open-access scheme might work. also, David Prosser, RLUK, says that the details of this is crucial and highlights the need for data, not just publications. Well said David! a great deal of the cost of research is in creating and manipulating the research data, and it holds huge value for the future so, yes, the research material and data also have to be preserved.
In a separate article, David Willetts, UK Minister for Universities and Science, aims both barrels at academic publishers and spends most of his column discussing publications. Given his target this isn’t surprising but he largely misses the opportunity to promote the need to make research material and data publicly available too.
I hope that Dame Janet will be reporting on how to make all of publicly-funded research available, and not just publications.
[posted by MR]