The Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (aka the Finch group) of the Research Information Network just released a report recommending that open access to scholarly publishings was the best method to increase access :
The internet has brought much better access to research results for members of the academic community. But the full benefits of the digital and online revolutions have yet to be realised, especially for business, the professions, and the general public. Many people have expressed the ambition for a worldwide open access regime. The key policy questions are how to promote that shift in an ordered way which promotes innovation and maximises the benefits while minimising the risks.
The report recommends actions which can be taken in the UK which would help to promote much greater and faster access, while recognising that research and publications are international. It envisages that several different channels for communicating research results will remain important over the next few years, but recommends a clear policy direction in the UK towards support for open access publishing. This means that publishers receive their revenues from authors rather than readers, and so research articles become freely accessible to everyone immediately upon publication.
See also this recent report from the Royal Society on Science as an Open Enterprise, which focuses heavily on data stewardship and sharing.