Canada's National Science Advisor, Arthur Carty, on OA Philosophy

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2005 16:51:17 +0100

        "An open-access philosophy is critical to the system's success"

    From Peter Suber's Open Access News

    Nurturing OA in Canada, from the top

    Arthur Carty, "A global information system needs a culture of sharing."
    University Affairs, November 2005.
    Carty is the Canadian National Science Advisor.
    (Thanks to BNA Internet Law News.)

    So, what is Canada's vision for a 21st-century global system for
    disseminating and communicating research data? Above all, our goal
    must be to maximize the impact of research for societies everywhere,
    not just the developed world. People in developing nations must be
    able to access and contribute to the vitality of the global research
    information and communications system. An open-access philosophy is
    critical to the system's success: if research findings and knowledge
    are to be built upon and used by other scientists, then this knowledge
    must be widely available on the web, not just stored in published
    journals that are often expensive and not universally available.

    From a Canadian perspective, a 21st century research communications
    system would share certain attributes. It would: [1] take
    full advantage of the enormous potential of new information
    and communication technologies; [2] be capable of handling an
    unprecedented flow of information in a wide variety of formats; [3]
    bring Canadian research knowledge to the world and bring the world's
    research knowledge to Canada; [4] be accessible by all Canadians,
    in all sectors, ensuring that public investment in scientific
    research leads to wealth creation and improvements in social and
    cultural well-being. With this type of system a researcher could
    access, from any corner of the globe, the full texts of relevant
    journal articles; a comprehensive set of monographs and theses;
    research data sets that underlie published outcomes; research
    reports and non-peer-reviewed research materials from both academia
    and government; and the electronic tools necessary to manage this
    volume of material. Creating a system with these attributes is no
    longer just a question of developing appropriate technologies; for
    the most part these already exist. Rather, it's a matter of building,
    integrating and improving the technical infrastructure, operational
    standards, research support systems, regulations and institutional
    roles and responsibilities. It's also a matter of nurturing a
    culture of open access and sharing, beyond what researchers have
    ever embraced. Canada is fortunate to have a number of key building
    blocks in place to facilitate the development of such a system. These
    include a network of institutional repositories at 26 university
    research libraries....Building an effective global information system
    consists both of this infrastructure and perhaps more importantly
    a culture of open access and sharing. This is harder to build than
    the nuts and bolts of the system because it requires a new mindset
    among researchers, administrators, governments and in some cases
    companies -- everyone involved in the creation and dissemination of
    knowledge....However, filling archives, though necessary, will not be
    able to change the mindset of people in the research enterprise. We
    have to find ways to motivate researchers in all countries to
    preserve and exchange their research data, to publish their findings
    in open access journals and to deposit their published articles in
    institutional repositories....Institutions, too, need to know that
    their investments in expanding and improving the quality of their data
    archives and open-access repositories are recognized as measurable
    scientific outputs. Some of these issues will be broached at the World
    Information Summit taking place this month in Turin, Italy. Canada has
    to articulate a vision to meet the challenges outlined above. Unless
    we act, the unprecedented volume of research information will become
    too difficult to manage, and highly valuable research data will be
    lost, along with the public investment in our future.

    Permanent link to this post Posted by Peter Suber at 10/18/2005
    08:45:00 AM.
Received on Tue Oct 18 2005 - 17:00:43 BST

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