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New study examines the economic returns of public access policies
Date:8/4/2010

Washington, DC Delivering timely, open, online access to the results of federally funded research in the United States will significantly increase the return on the public's investment in science, according to a new study by John Houghton at the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University. The study, "The Economic and Social Returns on Investment in Open Archiving Publicly Funded Research Outputs," co-authored by Bruce Rasmussen and Peter Sheehan, was released today by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).

Public funding of scientific, technical, and medical research assumes that economic and social returns to taxpayers will exceed the amount of the research investment. A proposal currently before the U.S. Congress the Federal Research Public Access Act, H.R. 5037 and S. 1373 (FRPAA) seeks to ensure and maximize the public's return by delivering open online access to the results of research funded through 11 federal agencies no later than six months after publication in a journal. The Victoria University study outlines one approach to measuring the potential impact of this policy on returns on public investment in research and development (R&D).

The new study examines the effect of key variables that influence the potential return on investment from this research. These variables concern both access to research including content embargoes and the efficiency with which research is applied in practice. The study also defines the additional data and model developments necessary for an accurate estimate of the policy's likely impact.

Depending on the assumed cost of data repositories, the study's preliminary models suggest that FRPAA's enactment could lead to a return on the public's investment of between four and 24 times the costs. Two thirds of this return would accrue within the United States, with the remainder spilling over to other countries. In the U.S., the study suggests th
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Contact: Jennifer McLennan
jennifer@arl.org
202-296-2296
SPARC
Source:Eurekalert

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