In the new knowledge economy, skills, knowledge and new ideas are a country's most valuable resource. Keeping ahead of this economic transformation requires a new approach to knowledge discovery and dissemination that combines strong policies with core infrastructure and cultural change.
Other countries—including the USA, Canada, China and in the UK and European Union—are making policy, funding and legislative changes to improve the discoverability and impact of their research publications and data. A new model, F.A.I.R. , is being adopted worldwide to make research output data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable .
Australia's ability to remain competitive and contribute fully to the global economy relies on it grasping the new opportunities available for research dissemination to advance knowledge, solve complex real world problems and stimulate innovation. Lack of access to interlinked evidence in research publications and research data currently inhibits national and international research and scholarship, collaboration, and public debate.
This statement affirms the need to make Australia's publicly funded research outputs F.A.I.R., recognising this will require different approaches across different types of research output, a long-term national commitment, and consideration of the global change agenda.
With F.A.I.R. access, Australian research will be more visible, the broader community will have better access to well-founded knowledge, Australian researchers will be able to more easily collaborate locally and globally, including with industry, and the Australian research enterprise will be more accountable to the community it serves. Furthermore, implementing a national approach of F.A.I.R. access to Australia's publicly funded research outputs will position Australia as a participant and leader in the growing international open research and innovation ecosystem. It will ensure that Australia maximises the return on its public investment in research and innovation.
F.A.I.R. Access Policy Statement
All Australian publicly funded research outputs will be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Access to research outputs will accord with international practices that are well defined, secure and trusted, and delivered through sustainable, fair, and efficient dissemination models. Publicly funded researchers will be expected, supported and rewarded to disseminate their work in such a way that anyone can find and re-use research publications and research data for further research, policy development, innovation, education and public benefit.
By 2020*, Australian publicly funded researchers and research organisations will have in place policies, standards and practices to:
- Make publicly funded research outputs findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
- (a) make research publications immediately free to read at the time of publication through a range of different strategies, either via a publisher's website or an institutional or other acceptable public repository.
- (b) make research data directly related to research publications as open as possible and as closed as necessary, in accord with the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement.
- (c) apply Creative Commons licences and utilise international metadata standards to research outputs to ensure accessibility, interoperability and reusability.
- (d) ensure that authors/creators obtain and retain all necessary rights to enable the authorisation of publication and re-use in any format at any time.
- (e) support the development of incentives for researchers to make research outputs available in accord with this policy.
- Value and practically support a range of dissemination models, recognising discipline diversity, whilst maintaining a commitment to the principles of this policy.
- Ensure that the application of this policy is in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and other codes of practice which lay out requirements to disseminate research responsibly, ethically and for the benefit of the Australian and international community.
The following principles inform the application of this statement:
- A commitment to the highest standards of excellence, impact and engagement in research practice, including the provision of support for effective and appropriate review processes and reproducibility.
- Support for a diversity of financially sustainable, transparent and trusted dissemination models in recognition of disciplinary differences.
- Support for approaches that encourage collaboration and the transfer of knowledge between researchers and users of research in industry, government and the general community.
- A commitment to disseminate research outputs arising from public funding in a timely and easily accessible way that fosters social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits and promotes the development of human capacities.
Download the F.A.I.R. Policy Statement PDF
*Although the goal of F.A.I.R. by 2020 was not achieved, it is something that is being actively pursued.
 Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable