The environment in which research is being conducted and disseminated is undergoing profound change, with new technologies offering new opportunities, changing research practices demanding new capabilities, and increased focus on research performance. A key question facing us today is, are there new opportunities and new models for scholarly communication that could enhance the dissemination of research findings and, thereby, increase the returns to investment in R&D? Identifying access and efficiency limitations under the subscription-based publishing model that has dominated scientific publishing, this paper explores the potential impacts of enhanced access to research outputs. We develop a modified growth model, introducing ‘access’ and ‘efficiency’ into calculating the returns to R&D. Indicative impact ranges are presented for gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) and government expenditure on R&D (GovERD) for all OECD countries. We conclude that there may be substantial benefits to be gained from increased access to research findings, and our preliminary estimates suggest that this may be
fertile ground for further policy relevant inquiry.