BY ELIZABETH HERITAGE

The basic principle driving Open Access is that NZ taxpayer-funded research outputs — including journal articles, conference proceedings and research data — should be made openly available to Kiwi taxpayers, including businesses.

To celebrate Open Access Week 2014, we thought we’d share some thoughts on this topic from businesses and NGOs around Aotearoa.

Lillian Grace, CEO of Wiki New Zealand, says: “The value realised from publicly funded research will be hugely increased by making it open for others throughout our country to learn and apply findings to business, social, economic and environmental endeavours.”

Oliver Hartwich, Executive Director of the NZ Initiative, says: “Taxpayers should have access to the results of research they are funding. This is why I support Creative Commons Aotearoa NZ in their campaign for Open Access publishing.”

Ed Corkery, CEO of Koordinates, says: “We believe open access to research data is central to a brighter future for NZ. Academic research has the potential to influence society in so many more ways if it were easier to access. When academia, governments and private companies work together to unlock data, we all benefit from a healthier environment, stronger economy and deeper understanding of the world we live in.”

Andrew Preston, Co-Founder of Publons says: “Access to scientific knowledge is essential for future research and development. This includes not just the article itself but the important context and knowledge that surrounds it, including peer review. Our business is built on the idea of encouraging open discussion and review and many others will be too.”

Dave Lane, of Catalyst IT and president of the NZ Open Source Society, says: “”The unquestionable success of the Internet is a testament to the value of sharing freely in the software world. Open Access to government-funded research is simply good sense and good business. Adopting a policy of sharing allows those of us in NZ with great ideas, skills and energy to add value to information and knowledge created for the greater good. I have no doubt that many positive and disruptive developments will result, and I can’t wait to see them along with the rest of the world.”

Gareth Morgan, CEO of the Morgan Foundation, says: “The Morgan Foundation is dedicated to getting Kiwis talking about important issues. Yet to have an informed debate we need to have an informed public. Too often the person on the street doesn’t have all the facts in order to make up their mind, or the information is provided in a way that people can’t understand. That is why we support Open Access policies – so Kiwis have the information they need to make the big calls.”

Patrick Fitzgerald, MD of Squiz, says: “Anything that makes it easier for New Zealand’s businesses, institutions, students, innovators and entrepreneurs to get the best information and solve problems quicker sounds like a win. Opening access to publicly funded research would be a good step in that direction.”

Mike Riversdale, ‘Miramar Mike’ tech consultant, says: “Payment for services rendered should always be at a level that recognises the true value of the output. This is why I am happy (nay insistent) that some of my tax dollars be spent on research as we look to create sustainable methods of ensuring value flows into New Zealand. Part of that value lies in ensuring that all New Zealanders can build upon the research. Seeing as my taxes have already covered the costs, businesses should be able to profit from the research. I therefore wholeheartedly support the call that all NZ publicly funded research institutions and research funders that they adopt Open Access policies.”

As Alfred Spector wrote on the Google Research blog, “Google has always believed that by improving access to the world’s knowledge, we can help improve everyone’s lives. When it comes to scientific research, we have consistently said that open access to publications speeds up research, accelerates innovation, and helps grow the global economy.”

This year, we are celebrating Open Access Week 20-26 October throughout the country. If you have any events of your own to add, please let us know. Open Access Week is a global event, now in its seventh year, that promotes Open Access as the new norm in scholarship and publishing.

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