4. May 2012 14:34
The UK Government is to provide a research portal offering open access to data from publicly-funded research.
The new Gateway to Research portal is intended to promote collaboration between the life sciences industries and the academic and voluntary sectors.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales will help to develop the £2m project and ensure that it effectively supports innovation.
The working group responsible for the portal was set up following the publication in December 2011 of the Government’s innovation strategy, which emphasised the need for open access to research data.
David Willetts (pictured), Minister for Universities and Science, said: “Giving people the right to roam freely over publicly funded research will usher in a new era of academic discovery and collaboration.”
He added that the project would “develop new online channels that enable researchers to collaborate and share data and build new research partnerships”.
Jimmy Wales will provide advice on the format and data standards for the research to be available via the portal, which will include both published papers and underlying data.
The funding of the portal has still to be decided, but may involve the funders of research paying the costs or the publishers paying after an initial closed period during which they can recover the costs.
Open access is already benefiting the public and voluntary sectors, according to two recent reports from the Open Access Implementation Group (which consists of several life science research organisations).
In particular, the public sector could save £26m in access fees and £2.6m in time costs, while improving its analytical and decision-making powers.