A new government framework on “open research” states that all Irish scholarly publications resulting from publicly funded research are to be made openly available from 2020.
The framework was launched by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan and contains a set of initiatives designed to change the culture of Irish academia to move away from the practice of publishing research results in scientific publications accessible on a subscription basis, to a “free flow” of information between national and international research communities.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Halligan stated that the framework would “ensure that Ireland can respond to and prepare for the shift in culture and practice that we are witnessing across Europe and internationally towards an open research environment”.
He further noted that “the willingness and ability of Ireland’s research community to work together to address common challenges supports the delivery of our national research agenda”.
The government’s plans respond to emerging EU policy on this issue. A recommendation from the European Commission dictates that all member states should “set and implement clear policies…on access to, and preservation of scientific information”.
Among the initiatives to encourage accessible research set out in the government framework is a commitment that every researcher in Ireland shall have the rights and the facility to publish via a suitable open access journal, platform, or repository.
The framework also suggests that the academic career system will support and reward researchers who participate in a culture of sharing the results of their research.
The framework further sets out that initiatives will be explored to make open access research more accessible to people with disabilities.
Tim Conlon, a Senior Manager at the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and incoming co-chair of the National Open Research Forum (NORF) said the framework “calls for a culture change” and is “a good example of how key players in the higher education and research system can work together to bring about change on a national level”.
He added: “Open research has the potential to transform the research landscape, with clear benefits for society, including greater public engagement and trust in research and enhancing research excellence and integrity, across all disciplines.”
The Irish Research Council welcomed the framework, stating that it “fully supports the principle of open access”.
Commenting on the framework, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “The impact and advancement of research are enhanced where the national and international research community has access to as wide a range of shared knowledge and findings as possible. This is particularly important for publicly funded research, where research supports the interests of society, culture and the economy as well as the expansion of knowledge itself.”