Open access issues…

Two complementary reports were published in June addressing the issue of Open Access from different perspectives.  Firstly the Finch Report “Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications” and, hot on its heels, the Royal Society’s report “Science as an Open Enterprise”.

As the Finch Report articulates the issue “Communicating research findings through journals and other publications has for over 350 years been at the heart of the research enterprise…  but there is a widespread perception, in the UK and across the world, that the full benefits of advances in technologies and services in the online environment have yet to be realised.”

The Royal Society’s report focuses on the need to make available the datasets which underpin many science publications as it is in the public interest (and that of good science)  to do so.  As one of the discussants at the Royal Society’s meeting to launch the report said:

“Today’s data will become the foundation of products and processes of the future.”

It seems that there are some real challenges for the engineering community here: from the policy tensions arising from publication versus protection when working with industry through to the practical challenges of storing data and making it accessible.  Do you have a view, or perhaps some examples of good practice?

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