“Research and development is an integral part of breakthrough and innovation and discovery,” says R&D Magazine writer Anna Spiewak; I couldn’t agree more. Every day we hear about new innovations and technology from enterprises like Apple, IBM, and Microsoft. Often, we do not hear about how our own government is planning and deploying new innovations. Similar to a lot of others, I personally like to think that what the government is doing is locked up and a secret for a reason, but maybe that shouldn’t be true…at least not for everything. The U.S. government is reaching towards a system that will increase public availability to peer-reviewed scientific literature and data sets (Spiewak, 2016).
Spiewak also suggests that executive and legislative requirements supporting public access to agencies’ scientific output is a practice that is gaining attention and creating a global movement of “broader access” (2016). The Deputy Director for resource management for the Department of Energy, presented, “Inspired Leadership in R&D: The New Face of Public Access to Federal R&D Results” at the R&D 100 Conference last November. His presentation highlighted the advantages of public access for R&D in the scientific world (Spiewak, 2017).
Government R&D agencies are to supply free public access (post a 12-month embargo) to their published research. Currently, there is a website that exists for this already, but does not have the vast research that this requirement will implement. It can be viewed at science.gov.
Spiewak’s article is an interesting read not only on the future of R&D public access, but also the U.S. government’s history and current status on the issue. I think that this policy will be game-changing when fully implemented and allow this country a global advantage in the scientific realm.
After reading Spiewak’s article, I came across an interview with Rush Holt, Ph.D., CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Although the interview was not only regarding public access, I found his interview thought-provoking and realized that R&D and technology leadership is a hot topic across the U.S. and international governments right now. Holt summarized his perspective stating,
“You need sensible policies for government scientists and sensible policies in the private industry so that scientists really have freedom to explore and to choose the questions they work on. There was a day where Bell Labs and Xerox and IBM gave their researchers a lot of freedom to choose the questions they would try to answer scientifically. We need to get back to that” (Walter, 2017).
One thing I have learned about R&D and to be a good technology leader, is to always ask questions, go out and find the answers to your questions, and if you have a thought about something, write it down so that you can find the information later. I am pleased that government agencies are sharing their knowledge and that we will have open access to new discoveries happening in our country.