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Greg Laughlin, ANDS Principal Policy Adviser

The policy update in the last edition of Share referred to four recent submissions made to government inquiries. In this edition, two of those submissions are covered in more detail:

Productivity Commission Draft Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements

The Productivity Commission called for the Australian and State and Territory Governments to implement open access policies for the outputs of publicly-funded research (by ‘outputs’ they mean publications such as journal articles, monographs, etc).

ANDS’ submission noted that publications have been the subject of open access policies by Australia’s major funders for quite a few years. It also sought to extend the Productivity Commission’s definition of research outputs beyond publications to include data, techniques, algorithms and software, bringing Australia into line with the major overseas peers.

ANDS noted there are slight differences in the concept of ‘open access’ for data and publications. Chief among these is that data cannot always be made openly available, for example where legitimate sensitivity, security or commercial reasons exist.

Australian Medical Research and Innovation Five Year Strategy

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a $20 billion Government fund. The main thrust in ANDS’ submission was to describe the importance of, and opportunities associated with, ensuring that medical research is supported by data strategies, data policy, data infrastructure and services.

ANDS also contended that failure to address this issue in Australia will decrease the return on investment into medical research and deny many current and future researchers the opportunity to take advantage of the emerging trends around data-intensive medical research.

The submission referred extensively to overseas arrangements, international medical funding policies and the overwhelmingly positive economic returns of the main (data infrastructure) proposition.

Plus a new line of inquiry…

Over the next few months ANDS will be looking more closely at reports and other information on research-industry collaborations, where research and other types of data have played a central role. More on that to come in future edition of Share.