Open access to scientific information

This POSTnote will provide an overview of how modern digital technologies have altered the scientific research process, focusing on their impact on access to, and the dissemination of, scientific information. It will outline the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 and the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000, which regulate access to research data in the UK, and how they impact on scientists and research institutions. It will seek to clarify to what extent both regimes apply to access to research information, how they should be applied in terms of the materials developed during the research process, and the timing of release of data. The major developments in Open Access publishing and repositories will also be examined, and the main arguments for and against ‘open-access’ models of dissemination summarised.  Issues around the need for standardisation of data formats and metadata and the inter-operability of open-repositories will also be explored.  For further information on this project, or to contribute, please contact Abbi Hobbs.