Public Access to
Federally Funded Research:
Contributions to Economic
Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC
s interest in ensuring public access to the results of research funded
with public tax dollars continues to grow, this issue has consistently
risen in profile in public policy conversations, in the US and around
the world. As research funders, both private and public, gain experience in
deploying policies that require expanded access to their funded research, there
has been an increasing emphasis on attempting to quantify the social and
economic returns to the public that might result from such policies, and the
potential contributions that greater access can make to national economic
development, competiveness, and innovation efforts. There have been a
number of recent reports and initiatives, both domestic and international,
that have made substantive contributions to our understanding of this issue,
and that are worth noting.
Why Share Research Results?
The basic drivers behind the push for policies that support greater access to the
results of research are universal. Scholars conduct research so new ideas can be
generated, new discoveries can be uncovered, and our collective understanding
of the world and our interactions with it can be enhanced. They have long
understood that communication of their findings is part-and-parcel of the
research process; they don’t consider their work to be finished until the process
of sharing their results is complete.
Research funders recognize the necessity of sharing research results as well.
Agencies invest in scientific research expecting that it will result in increased
benefits, both social and economic, to the public. They recognize that research is
DECEMBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC