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NHMRC initiatives to improve access to research outputs and findings

Wee-Ming Boon and Fiona Leves
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (11): 558. || doi: 10.5694/mja15.00550
Published online: 15 June 2015

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funds about $850 million of Australia's best medical research each year. To continuously deliver tangible health benefits to the Australian community, NHMRC has implemented a suite of initiatives to maximise the returns from this investment.

In April 2015, NHMRC released a statement encouraging its funded researchers to improve their data sharing practices (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/grants-funding/policy/nhmrc-statement-data-sharing). The statement says:

NHMRC encourages data sharing and providing access to data and other research outputs (metadata, analysis code, study protocols, study materials and other collected data) arising from NHMRC supported research.

This is an ethos consistent with the 2007 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/r39) and a practice that stands to benefit all Australian researchers and those who fund Australian research.

NHMRC's statement on data sharing follows the NHMRC Open Access Policy (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/grants-funding/policy/nhmrc-open-access-policy), which was implemented in July 2012 and requires that:

any publication arising from NHMRC supported research must be deposited into an open access institutional repository and/or made available in another open access format within a twelve month period from the date of publication.

NHMRC also requires all clinical trials it funds to be registered with a clinical trials registry.

These initiatives are aligned with the strong global movement for open access to research information. Greater transparency of research and better use and reuse of data will ensure that waste in research is minimised, while improving the reproducibility and value derived from research.

NHMRC will continue to ensure that its assessment processes are rigorous, that only the most significant research ideas are funded, and that access to research results remains as open as possible.

  • Wee-Ming Boon
  • Fiona Leves

  • National Health and Medical Research Council


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