UK to throw open science research papers

Taxpayer-funded research will be made available to the public and not put behind paywalls, according to the government

Publicly-funded scientific research papers are to be made available to the public for free, the government has said.

Taxpayer-funded research papers can be locked behind expensive paywalls by scientific journals, a practice the government wants to discourage by supporting open access.

"Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer funded research will have real economic and social benefits," said science minister David Willetts on Monday. "It will allow academics and businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and herald a new era of academic discovery."

The policy should start to provide better access to academic papers by 2014, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. By then, people should be able to walk into a public library and get access, for free, to anything released by a member of the UK Publishers' Association.