Framework for F.A.I.R. Access to Australia’s research*

The National Science and Innovation Agenda has sharpened the focus on leveraging commercial and public value from Australia’s research. Research outputs, whether data, software, methods or publications, underpin innovation and are a critical component of future research. Australia does not have an overarching statement of principle or policy with respect to access.

In July 2016, under the auspices of the Universities Australia’s Deputy Vice-Chancellors (Research) Committee, a working group of representatives of university, research, business and the not-for-profit sector, with observers from government bodies, drafted a national statement of principles aimed at opening up access to Australia’s research. The draft statement was sent for consultation across the Australian higher education sector as well as to relevant government agencies, peak bodies, and industry associations involved in research in Australia. High-level feedback was also sought from relevant international bodies working in open access.

The resulting statement, available here, proposes a framework for access to research that builds on principles already established for data: namely that all Australia’s research outputs should be F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).

The working group has completed its work and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group is now undertaking coordination of the statement and responses to it. Linda O’Brien, Chair, Australian F.A.I.R. Access Working Group says

This statement affirms the need to make Australia’s publicly funded research outputs F.A.I.R., recognising this will require different approaches across different types of research output, a long-term national commitment, and consideration of the global change agenda.

We welcome expressions of support for this statement as we seek to make F.A.I.R. access an integral part of Australia’s national research and innovation framework.

Creative Commons Australia supports the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable & Reusable) principles for improving the accessibility and impact of Australian research outputs. Making research outputs and data available is a critical aspect of the research dissemination process and vital to maximizing the social and economic impacts of research on policy and practice.

Creative Commons (CC) licenses provide a simple mechanism to ensure that users of research have the rights they need to reuse, replicate, and apply research outputs and data. We encourage researchers to make use of CC licences in disseminating and communicating research output in order to maximise the impact of their work while protecting their intellectual property and academic integrity.

* Re-published from the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group. Linda O’Brien, Chair, Australian F.A.I.R. Access Working Group & Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, AOASG.