The outcomes of research funded by the public should be available to all, and the data made available for future research.
The UK government has decided that research publications should be available for everyone to see, not just academics with access to library subscriptions. The research councils favour gold open access, where publications are made available immediately, but at additional cost to research funders. Universities now receive additional money from RCUK to cover the costs of open access publishing. However, if charity funders cover the costs of gold open access, it could reduce the funds available to directly support research.
AMRC has a working group that is engaging with policy-makers to assess what open access means for charity funders. We have published a position statement on open access, describing the different ways in which AMRC members are supporting open access.
Research data are a valuable resource for conducting further analyses. Data from research that involves patients can contain sensitive confidential information. It is important that these data are kept safely, and that different types of data are made available with different levels of control.
Many funders ask their researchers to define how they will share and manage the research data they generate.
The balance between public good and personal harm associated with open data makes it an important area for AMRC members, who often represent patient populations. Our statement on the use of patient data for research outlines our position in the handling of these data.