G8 science ministers endorse open access

Science ministers from the G8 group of the world’s richest countries have jointly endorsed the need to increase access to publicly-funded research.

In a joint statement proposing “new areas” of scientific collaboration for the countries, the ministers say they “recognise the potential benefits of immediate global access to and unrestricted use of published peer-reviewed, publicly funded research results”.

“We share the intention, therefore, to continue our cooperative efforts and will consider how best to address the global promotion of increasing public access to the results of publicly funded published research including to peer-reviewed published research and research data,” the statement says.

The document follows the first-ever joint meeting of G8 science ministers, held at the Royal Society in London on 12 June, and precedes next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

As well as the comments on open access, the statement highlights “global challenges” that require international scientific collaboration, how countries should work together to improve research infrastructure and how to make scientific data more accessible.

Meanwhile, in a separate development William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, and US Secretary of State John Kerry have unveiled a new UK-US initiative to improve international cooperation between universities.

Launched at a joint press conference in Washington on 12 June, the UK-US Global Innovation Initiative will support university collaboration between the UK, US and emerging nations over the next five years.

It will aim to establish up to 40 trilateral partnerships, involving 120 universities worldwide, in its first year and up to 200 partnerships over the five-year period.

Funding will come from the State Department in the US and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the British Council in the UK.

The scheme follows Barack Obama’s visit to London in 2011 when the US president expressed his desire for more student and staff exchanges between US and UK universities.

Details of the new initiative will be announced in October when the first call for proposals is made, with the first grants to be awarded in early 2014.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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