‘Opening’ University Research

There’s an interest article by Michael Geist in today’s edition of the Toronto Star Law Bytes column. Basically Geist is arguing against the existing practice of that Universities spend billions of dollars on research only to end up ‘buying back” the dissemination through journal subscription and copyright fees. Geist notes a recent letter calling on the U.S. Government to move towards more free forms of research dissemination.

“Late last month, a group of Nobel prize winners in the United States (which faces the same dilemma) issued a public letter calling on their government to link public research funding with public dissemination of the results. Canada should jump at the chance to adopt a similar model that would tie free, public dissemination to all publicly funded research. Such an approach would still leave room to commercialize the research results, while providing Canadians with an unprecedented innovation opportunity and a more immediate return on its research granting investment.”

Obviously there are economic reasons that warrant against the existing practice of universities and other public institutions. However, we need to push the issue of openness for reasons, if none other, of public access to knowledge.