Zoë Corbyn, Australia ups the ante on global access to research, Times Higher Education Supplement, September 18, 2008. Excerpt:
A pioneering move by the Australian Government to allow open access to all of the nation’s publicly funded research could "set all the dominoes falling worldwide", it was predicted this week [by Stevan Harnad].
Kim Carr, the Australian Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said he intended to implement reforms aimed at "unlocking public information and content, including the results of publicly funded research", following a review of the country’s innovation.
The review says that scientific knowledge produced in Australia should be "placed in machine-searchable repositories" developed and implemented using universities and public funding agencies.
"To the maximum extent practicable, information, research and content funded by the Australian governments … should be made freely available over the internet as part of the global public commons," it says. "This should be done while the Australian Government encourages other countries to reciprocate by making their own contributions to the global digital public commons."
Giving a speech on the report, Mr Carr said that Australia – which produces 3 per cent of the world’s research papers – "is and will remain" a net importer of knowledge. As a result, he said, it was in the country’s interest to "promote the freest possible flow of information domestically and globally".
"The arguments for stepping out first on open access are the same as the arguments for stepping out first on emissions trading – the more willing we are to show leadership on this, the more chance we have of persuading other countries to reciprocate," he said….