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We believe that academic and scientific information that is paid for by taxpayers should be free for everyone to access, use, and benefit from. That means that research outputs such as datasets, reports, studies, articles and so on should be digital, online, free of charge, and free from most copyright and licensing restrictions. If the public paid for it, the public should have access.
Open Access for Aotearoa
Knowledge has never been more vital to the well-being of the world. The work done in our universities, Crown Research Institutes, and other publicly funded institutions benefits from taxpayer funding. Unlike journalists or novelists, these thinkers, researchers, and writers have funded positions. The public should benefit from their work.
Right to read
Taxpayer funded research should be available for everyone to read. This work has already been paid for by taxpayers for the benefit of everyone. It should not be locked behind paywalls and sold back to us for profit.
Right to share
Knowledge only has value when shared. Students, professionals, and the general public all benefit from the wide availability of scientific, medical, social science, and humanities knowledge. Being able to pass that knowledge on through the internet and in print is crucial to a healthy information system. Paywalls privilege the privileged and allow propaganda to flourish.
Right to reuse
All works build on those that came before. The right to creatively and productively engage with prior work is a core part of how we all benefit from new knowledge. Making full use of a given work requires us to engage with it not only as readers, or information consumers, but as creators in our own right. Paywalls inhibit this process and create a stifling effect on creativity.
To make this happen we need
Copyright licenses serve as the permission to use, share, and reuse a work. Licenses need to be clearly explained, widely used, and acceptable on the platforms we all use as knowledge seeker and creators. At this time, Creative Commons licenses are the best tools available. Open platforms such as Wikimedia require a CC0 or CC-BY license and these should be used for publicly funded research outputs.
To share knowledge widely and without cost to readers and creators, we need to direct resources towards projects that enable publishing, distributing, collecting, cataloging, indexing, and archiving research outputs. That infrastructure should be coordinated, open source, scholar-led and governed, environmentally friendly, and benefit from long-term financial commitments from the New Zealand government, universities, and research institutes.
Data, code, and other research products should be shared openly and as widely as possible, while attending to the dignity, rights, and expectations of those from whom the data has been gathered. These research products should be made available alongside research outputs to ensure that they are available for use, review, and reuse by other researchers, professionals, and the general public.
Metrics that matter
We measure what matters and it matters what we measure. Contributions to human knowledge cannot be reduced to a set of metrics. The evaluation of scholarship is a complex and multifaceted activity. It should not be limited to bibliometrics, social media based alt-metrics, or any other single metric. Rather, metrics should be an adjunct to qualitative assessments.