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The value of alternative forms of publishing for policy research

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Presentation by John Houghton at "Where is the evidence: policy, research and the rise of grey literature" conference, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 10 October 2012

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The value of alternative forms of publishing for policy research

  1. 1. T he value of alter nativefor ms of publishing for policyr esear chJohn HoughtonCentre for Strategic Economic StudiesVictoria University, AustraliaJohn.Houghton@pobox.com
  2. 2. Use and value of information Ideally, policy debate is like science – people put forward evidence and interpretation, and others examine and challenge it. The quality of the analysis and the ability to examine are crucial to policy development. There is focus on the transparency and accountability of government, and the benefits it brings (e.g. improved policy, democratic inclusion, efficiency, etc.). Despite the fashion for interaction and collaboration, the literature on knowledge transfer reveals the importance of formal and informal publication. Access to, and preservation of, the information informing policy debate and underlying policy decisions is crucial. But what do we know about access to, and use of, grey literature, or about its value? Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  3. 3. The value of access to information (UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, US and Australia)  UK JISC study of the Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models, with Loughborough University;  SURF Foundation and DEFF studies exploring the costs and benefits of alternative publishing models in the Netherlands and Denmark;  DFG study, with Goethe Universität, bringing the German National Licensing Program into the mix of alternative publishing and dissemination models;  SPARC study of the potential impacts of the US Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA);  FI-DEFF study of access to academic research by Danish SMEs, its impact on innovation and value to them;  ANDS study of access to Australian public sector information, and ANZSOG paper on transparency and productivity;  UK ESRC study of the value of the Economic and Social Data Service, with Neil Beagrie;  UK JISC study of the value of the Archaeological Data Service; and  UK NERC & STFC study of the value of the British Atmospheric Data Centre, also with Neil Beagrie.http://www.cfses.com/projects/knowledge-access.htm Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  4. 4. Transparency and productivity(Effects of open and transparency PSI management) Econom y & Societ y ( Benef it s) I nnovative products & services Better informed policies & programs Reduced cost of government I nf or m at ion User s Governm ent s ( Benef it s) ( Benef it s) Transaction cost savings Accession cost savings PRODUCTI VI TY Increased return on investment Staff time savings Greater engagement Opportunities for innovation and participation Public Sect or Agencies ( Benef it s) Transaction cost savings Staff time savings ( Cost s) One-off set-up & transition costs Recurring loss of revenue from cost recovery Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  5. 5. Access to Public Sector Information(Case studies of the costs and benefits of open PSI)  ANDS study on the cost and benefits of OA to PSI, using case studies of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, GeoScience Australia, and the National Water Commission.  Looked at agency and user activity and transaction costs, and wider economic impacts.  It is clear from these case studies that even the subset of benefits that can be measured outweigh the costs of making PSI more freely and openly available.  It is also clear that it is not simply about access prices, but also about the transaction costs involved.  So standardised and unrestrictive licensing, such as Creative Commons, ready discoverability and data standards are crucial in realising the benefits of OA to PSI. Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  6. 6. Availability of UK grey literature(SME access to academic grey literature in the UK) Alma Swan explored access to, and use of, UK academic grey literature among a small sample of SMEs. She found that SMEs do require access to grey literature of various types and would welcome the chance to use reports, survey results, theses and datasets that universities could provide. The problem is discoverability: SMEs turn to trade or professional bodies or search the Web, and do not think of Higher Education as a possible source. The visibility of university-produced grey literature is very poor. Universities must make clear what they have and better manage its dissemination, if it is to be useful to the SME community. Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  7. 7. UK SME access to information(Per cent wanting improved access by information type) Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  8. 8. Danish SME access to information(Per cent wanting improved access by information type) Market survey research 51% Research articles 47% Market reports on sector or 43% products Scientific and technical standards 27% Patent information 24% Product or process technical 23% information Conference papers and 20% proceedings Technical reports from government 16% agencies Doctoral or Masters theses 15%Legislative / Regulatory information 11% Professional / Trade publications 10% Reference works 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  9. 9. Danish SME access to information(Cost of barriers and value of access to academic research)  Research respondents spent an average of 63 minutes trying to access the last article they had difficulty accessing, and an average of 17 articles presented difficulties during the last year.  So, access difficulties could be costing DKK 540 million a year among specialist researchers in Denmark alone.  An average of 27% of new products and 19% of new processes developed or introduced during the last three years would have been delayed or abandoned without access to academic research.  So, pro rata, the value of academic research was equivalent to around 12% of sales revenue. Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  10. 10. Economic and Social Research Data(Value of the UK Economic and Social Data Service) I nvest m ent Cont ingent Value Ef ficiency I m pact Ret ur n on Wider & Use Value ( St at ed) ( Est im at es) I nvest m ent I m pact s ( Dir ect ) ( Scenar ios) ( Not Measur ed) Wider Research Society Community Wider User Survey User Community Community (active registered users excluding school and under-graduate students) Survey User Com m unit y Willingness t o Pay Ef f iciency Gain I ncr eased £25m £68m - £112m Ret urn on per annum I nvest m ent per annum I nvest m ent in Value Dat a Cr eat ion ? Consum er Surplus Willingness £23m t o Accept over 30 year s £21m £58m - £233m per annum per annum £81m – £111m per annum (NPV) (2.5-fold to 10-fold Use Value Net Econom ic Wider User RoI) £24m Value Com m unit y per annum £18m per annum Eff iciency Gain (More than 5 times ESDS £100m plus operational budget) per annum Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  11. 11. Archaeological Research Data(Cumulative deposits to the UK Archeological Data Service) Aggregate (excl. Grey Literature) Grey Liturature (deposition events)2,5002,0001,5001,000 500 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  12. 12. Archaeological Research Data(Per cent of users by last data type used) Grey Literature (unpublished 29% reports) Journals and Series (CBA 25% Research Reports, PSAS etc.) Local/National Historic 20% Environment Records Project Archives 15%Reference Resources (Guides toGood Practice, Roman Amphorae 5% etc.) Teaching and Learning Specific Resources (DataTrain, Image 4% Bank etc) Bibliographies (Vernacular 2% Architecture Group etc.) 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  13. 13. Summary and conclusions(Benefits of access to information)  Studies of the costs and benefits of more open access to research publications and data suggest that there are benefits to more open access, and the benefits outweigh the costs.  Transparent government and access to PSI also appear to bring benefits, although it varies by type of information.  There are also many benefits that we cannot measure (e.g. raising the quality of policy debate and policy outcomes, accountability of government and research, democratic inclusion and participation, etc.).  We may not know much, but I think we know enough to know it is important.  With the ever increasing variety of information, combined with the technical means to curate, share and preserve information, now is the time to do more about Grey Literature. Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
  14. 14. knowledge access studieshttp://www.cfses.com/projects/knowledge-access.htmCentre for Strategic Economic StudiesVictoria University, AustraliaJohn.Houghton@pobox.com
  15. 15. Referenceshttp://www.cfses.com/projects/knowledge-access.htm  Houghton, J.W. and Gruen, N. (2012) Transparency and productivity: The effects of open and transparent Public Sector Information management practices on costs and productivity, Occasional Paper No2, ANZSOG, Melbourne.  Houghton, J.W. (2011) The costs and benefits of data provision, Australian National Data Service (ANDS), Canberra.  Swan, A. (2008) Study on the availability of UK academic grey literature to UK SMEs, Key Perspectives Report to JISC, Bristol.  Ware, M. (2009) Access by UK small and medium-sized enterprises to professional and academic literature, Publishing Research Consortium, Bristol.  Houghton, J.W., Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2011) Access to Research and Technical Information in Denmark, Report to The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation and The Danish Agency for Libraries and Media, Copenhagen.  Beagrie, N., Houghton, J.W., Palaiologk, A. and Williams, P. (2012) Economic Evaluation of Research Data Service Infrastructure: A Study for The ESRC , UK Economic and Social Research Council.  Beagrie, N. and Houghton, J.W. (forthcoming) Impact of the Archaeological Data Service, Report to the Joint Information Systems Committee, London & Bristol. Centre for Strategic Economic Studies

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