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The US Is Falling Behind in Building an Open Research Commons

The nation's research competitiveness and leadership is falling behind other nations

by American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Although many nations are positioning themselves to be more scientifically competitive in the near future, implementing strategies to make research data and resources more open and accessible, Philp Bourne and colleagues argue that the United States is falling behind. According to the Policy Forum authors, this inaction is compromising the nation’s research competitiveness and leadership and limiting global science that could benefit from US contributions.

Many aspects of global research are rapidly changing to be more open, accessible, and supportive of rapid-response investigations, like understanding COVID-19. What’s more, research—especially that to address complex global challenges like climate change—is increasingly done through large cross-national efforts. This has led to concerted efforts to build a unified open research commons (ORC) to facilitate sharing global research resources and data across the public and private sectors. According to Bourne et al., as these collaborative initiatives advance worldwide, the progress in establishing an ORC is lagging in the US due to a lack of leadership, focus, and coordination. 

The authors suggest that all US research stakeholders, including major US research funding agencies and government leadership, work together to create a more seamlessly connected and accessible research infrastructure that spans federal, state, and local resources. “Only then will there be opportunities to maximize productivity and innovation to solve global problems,” write Bourne and colleagues. “Other countries and regions are taking these same steps. It is time for the US to step up to the plate.”

- This press release was provided by the American Association for the Advancement of Science