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NHMRC funded research to be free to public

22nd Feb 2012
Lynnette Hoffman   all articles by this author

BEGINNING in July, all publications based on NHMRC-funded research must be placed in the public domain, the CEO Professor Warwick Anderson has announced.

The publications must be placed into an “institutional repository” within 12 months of publication, and will be available free of charge, he said.

Although the NHMRC decided on the proposal internally last year, the mandate was only made public yesterday, in an opinion piece written by Professor Anderson for the website The Conversation, an NHMRC spokesperson said.

Professor Anderson said the NHMRC had updated its policy on open access to published research to align itself with other international health and medical research funders such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the UK Medical Research Council.

“The next steps will be improving public and other researchers’ access to publicly funded research,” Mr Anderson wrote, adding that the organisation has signed a joint statement on data sharing, which aims to foster higher quality science, faster progress in improving health and better value for money.

The move comes amidst growing pressure from academics across Australia and the world to make the content of taxpayer funded research publicly available.

So far, nearly 7000 researchers have reportedly joined a boycott against the academic publishing giant Elsevier, claiming its prices for accessing articles are too high.  

Elsevier has defended its pricing, saying the cost of downloading an article is around one-fifth of what it was a decade ago.

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(medical news)