Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Contributions to Economic Development, Competitiveness, and Innovation Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC A 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 RLI 273 26 DECEMBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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