Copyright: Science

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 23rd February 2012.

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Photo of Adam Afriyie Adam Afriyie Chair, Members' Expenses Committee, Chair, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to promote growth and innovation by increasing open access to scientific research data.

Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science)

holding answer 20 February 2012

The Government are committed to ensuring that publicly funded research should be accessible free of charge.

As stated in paragraph 6.6 of the ‘Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth’, published in December 2011:

“Government will work with partners, including the publishing industry, to achieve free access to publicly-funded research as soon as possible and will set an example themselves.

We have helped establish an independent working group chaired by Janet Finch to consider how to improve access to research publications, including publicly-funded research. This will report in early 2012.

The Royal Society is considering how to improve the sharing and disclosing of research data, both within the research community and beyond. It will report in early 2012.

Alan Langlands is chairing a task force to advise on improving the accessibility of data within Government and its agencies, which will advise on data linkage, conditions of access and data quality. This will report during 2012.”

The Government will consider further steps in light of the findings and recommendations from these groups.

As an immediate step, the Research Councils are investing £2.1 million in the development, by 2013, of a UK ‘Gateway to Research’ designed to facilitate the translation of research and innovation in support of both the Government's transparency and growth agenda. This Gateway will initially allow public users ready access to Research Council funded research and will be designed to allow inclusion of research funded by others, in due course. The Research Councils have initiated this project and will be working with their partners and users to ensure information is presented in a readily reusable form, using common formats and open standards.

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