3.1: Double governmental scientific and technological research spending from the current $9.2 billion (0.56% of GDP) to $18.4 billion. Plan for the future through targeted government investment in areas which encourage economic and technological development, such as:
- Health and biomedical research
- Computer science
The Science Party believes that scientific research and technological development hold the key to Australia's success in the future. The Science Party wants Australia to be a place that is known for its science and technology sector. To do this, we need to build a strong research industry, while training people to have the skills that this industry will require.
Among OECD nations, Australia is among the lowest for public spending on research. Doubling our current figure will put us near the top of this list.
4. Nuclear Research
The Science Party would like to see Australia play host to or aid research into new nuclear reactor designs that can be used for energy generation. Please also see our energy policy, including Renewable Energy and Nuclear Energy Research Reactors.
4.1: The Science Party has a policy of maintaining the existing facilities at the Open Pool Australian Lightwater reactor (OPAL; the Lucas Heights reactor).
Nuclear reactors represent a unique environmental challenge, as nuclear reactors produce byproducts that are potentially harmful over long periods. Despite this, nuclear reactors play an important role in modern energy production, medicine and research.
OPAL provides isotopes necessary for nuclear medicine for Australia and many countries in the South Pacific. It also provides an important facility for nuclear research. The Science Party has an explicit policy of maintaining existing facilities at OPAL. If the need arises for an extension of nuclear research capabilities and medical isotope production, a new reactor could possibly be built in Western Australia to better provide medical isotopes for those living in western and central Australia.
The Science Party has a separate Space Policy detailing the steps that Australia should take into this field, which would benefit both Australia and the space industry.
6. Open Access to publicly funded research
6.1: Any publication of research in a paywalled research journal arising from Australian government funding must also be immediately published as Open Access.
Any knowledge discovery facilitated by public funding should be available for public viewing. Universal access to current scientific knowledge also benefits science as it allows work to be examined from all angles.
The Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council have moderate Open Access policies. For research that they have funded, Open Access is required no later than one year after publication. Researchers must provide explanation if this is not possible for "legal or contractual obligations".
A delay of one year is enough to stall progress in fast-paced areas of research. The ability to gain an exemption for "legal reasons" undermines the aim of Open Access.
The USA's National Institutes of Health require open access to all published findings that arise from any amount of direct NIH funding, no later than 12 months after the date of publication.
Holding scientific publications behind paywalls stifles progress by restricting knowledge to people affiliated with organisations that have journal access, and those who can personally afford to pay access fees. Consequently, only a small minority of humanity has access to some cutting edge research, enabling only them to contribute the next step in understanding our world. Giving everyone access to published findings will accelerate the advancement of knowledge and the correction of errors.
Expanding Open Access to scientific literature may also help dispel an image of scientific research as an elite pursuit, thus improving engagement with science and trust in the scientific process.