OAR conference notes – government bodies

Jenine Borowik – Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

What stimulates particular disciplines to adopt OA when others do not?

This question is particularly pertinent to the ABS – ABS has a mission of promoting informed decision making – but there is an increasingly array of “national interests” – as a result, ABS has realised that we cannot continue to be an island of research and information gathering and dissemination, we need to work with other organisations. Due to this, interest in encouraging a community of organisations to build a rich statistical picture of Australia.

In 2005, ABS removed the barrier of price to access for information. So anyone who accessed ABS website could freely download publications etc. Number of downloads has risen from 1 million per year to 5 million per year. Page views from 50 million to 150 million.

Creative Commons (CC) gives a solution to another barrier – the legal barrier. ABS is interested in using CC. Would like to use something that is successful and widely understood rather than something they have developed that is “just theirs”. Also interested in the way the licences are carried with the particular item of data, and the requirement for attribution. Legal aspects not the primary consideration for ABS, so if there is a mechanism that makes it easy to apply the right licences then that is a good thing.

Jeffrey Kingwell – Geosciences Australia (GA)

GA is a national geographic information clearing house. Collects seismic info, operates national mapping agency etc.

Mission = collect geographic stuff to give to other people to do stuff with.

So why is it so difficult to get the stuff out there?

Finding that due to a number of factors, including IP law and IP government policy, that it is important to align OA policy with IP policy. This is an issue where policies developed in different departments (e.g. IP policy by commercialization unit, OA in another area). GA is trying to construct an IP policy that is consistent with their vision and core function.

Creative Commons Pilot Project 2007-08


  1. Have a simple statement of your objective in sharing
  2. align IP policy with that
  3. use simple tools (such as CC) to implement

Dr Alexander Cooke – Australian Research Council (ARC)

Broad principles for an Accessibility Framework:

  • Publicly funded research outputs and data should be managed in ways that maximise public benefit;
  • Institutions or individuals receiving public funding have a responsibility to make the results of that funding publicly available
  • ….

What opportunities are there?
The Accessibility Framework offers the ARC and NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) the possibility of strengthening their funding rules to mandate rather than encourage deposit