Catherine Armitage July 29, 2012
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles" ... Winston Churchill.
Just think, if there had been an internet back 300 years before the birth of Christ, the West would not have taken the best part of two millennia until the 1600s to twig to that brilliant Chinese invention of the folding umbrella - and moveable type might have been in use 300 years earlier.
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it," said Britain's revered wartime prime minister and Toby jug, Winston Churchill.
It may be stretching the metaphor a little to suggest they'll set the world on fire but, from 2013, British scientists will be required by their government to make much of the country's £2.8 billion-a-year ($4.2 billion) taxpayer-funded research promptly and freely available to all.
The European Union has similarly proposed to make available all the research from its €80 billion ($94 billion) Horizon program to 2020.
The open access movement is partly a response to escalating subscription costs of academic journals, some of which cost several thousand dollars a year, thus putting research out of the timely reach of many who could make best use of it.
Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council and the CSIRO already operate open access schemes.
The nation's main funding body for scientific research, the Australian Research Council, is reportedly thinking about it. Information overload? It's only just begun.