***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) My teachers taught me to simplify a sentence before trying to analyze it. So let's reduce your sentence to its
The Internet -- and pressure from funding agencies -- is making access to scientific results a reality.
(2) Next I found these sentences in a scholarly work (I shall credit it later):
John writes well -- and Sally, too.
John -- and Sally, too -- writes extremely well.
(3) Let's apply that to your sentence:
The Internet is making access to scientific results a reality, and pressure from funding agencies, too.
The Internet -- and pressure from funding agenices, too -- is making access to scientific results a reality.
(4) Do you think that that your sentence is similar to those sentences quoted from a book? Well, if you do, here is how that
book explains it (any emphasis is mine):
Another less regular type of coordination may be called INTERPOLATED, because one of the conjoins behaves as if it is
inserted , as a parenthesis, in the middle of the clause.
Then the scholars turn to their example of "John -- and Sally, too -- writes extremely well."
They explain: "If we analyze [that sentence] as having a coordinated subject [my emphasis], we have to deal with the
curiosity of a plural subject [my emphasis] with a singular verb; but if we treat it as a case of interpolated coordination, we
accept that the subject -verb concord [agreement] will be unaffected by interpolated elements [My note: That is, extra material that has been interjected -- thrown in].
(5) IF (a big "if") I understand what those scholars are saying:
(a) The "and" is used because it connects the two subjects "Internet" and "pressure."
(b) Your independent or parenthetical element is an example of so-called "interpolated coordination." That is, "pressure from
funding agencies" is acting as if it were a parenthesis. Therefore, the verb agrees with the first subject ("Internet").
(6) I also need to point out that the scholars say that "in some cases," ellipsis is at work. Maybe your sentence could be reordered as: The Internet is making access to scientific results a reality, and pressure from funding agencies is, too. ( = making access to scientific results a reality).
A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language
(1985 edition, pages 975 - 976) written by Professors Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech
and Jan Svartvik.