Owning the Right to Open Up Access to Scientific Publications
L. Guibault & C.J. Angelopoulos (eds.), Open Content Licensing: From Theory to Practice, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 137-167, 2011
Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2012-20
32 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012
Date Written: February 16, 2012
Innovative scientific research plays a crucial role in addressing global challenges, such as healthcare and environmental and security issues, while research in social sciences and the humanities occupies a key function in understanding emerging social phenomena. The speed and depth of scientific research, understood in its broadest sense, depends on fostering collaborative exchanges between different communities and assuring its widest dissemination. This, in turn, is fundamental for the constant evolution of science and human progress. Access to research output not only increases the returns from public investment in this area, but also reinforces open scientific inquiry. It encourages diversity of opinion, promotes new areas of work and enables the exploration of topics not envisioned by the initial investigators. Collaborative exchanges help avoid the unnecessary duplication of research and address some of the global health inequalities. Timely and cost-efficient access to scientific research, therefore, contributes to increasing general economic and social welfare. More than any other kind of research, publicly funded scientific research constitutes an essential building block for further progress and innovation, one that is often seen as a collective good. For this reason, the common assumption is that, for the greater good of science and the public interest, publicly funded research should be made accessible without restriction. This principle of unfettered access also entails the freedom to use and reuse publicly funded scientific research.
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