If I had a pound for each time I've heard that statement over the last week (actually the RCUK policy calls it a 'process'), I'd almost have enough for a Gold OA article in an Elsevier journal.
The LSE Impact of Social Science blog today contains a response to an earlier post about institutional repositories and their role in the transition to Open Access. It was almost like the authors today's post had listened to the conversations in our office over the last few days. I'm joking, of course they haven't but the points raised echoed our own response to Mike Taylor's post.
The scholarly communications landscape is evolving. Repositories are a part of the transition - without them, and (note this point) the expertise developed through their use and promotion, the Open Access movement would not be where it is today, which is at the forefront of discussions on publications and the sharing of research.
The irony is that we are all for Open Access, it's the journey that's under discussion.
HEFCE have announced their intention to “introduce a requirement that all outputs submitted to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise are published on an open-access basis” (para 8), with some flexibility and exceptions for where this is not reasonably possible.
HEFCE’s proposals would require research outputs submitted to post-2014 REFs to be accessible through an institutional repository (such as the University of Bath’s Opus). Both green and gold forms of open access would be acceptable, and there would be an allowance for reasonable embargo periods for green open access.
For me, the most striking part of the proposal is the intention that “work which has been originally published in an ineligible form then retrospectively made available in time for the post-2014 REF submission date should not be eligible, as the primary objective of this proposal is to stimulate immediate open-access publication” (para 12). This means we need to start acting on this now. It can’t wait until the next REF!
Read the full document: ‘Open Access and Submissions to the Research Excellence Framework post-2014’.
HEFCE invite responses to this consultation by 25th March 2013.
Oh my. The New York Times has an opinion piece supporting the move towards Open Access for government funded research:
We Paid for the Research, So Let’s See It.
They even suggest a shorter embargo than 12 months.
HEFCE and the UK funding councils have issued a call for commentary on the role of OA publishing in the submission of outputs to the post-2014 REF. This appears to carry a good deal of support for repositories.
Interesting post by SPARC Europe on funder policies on Open Access from around the world. Note the lonely funder under 'Gold (journals) preferred where available'..
The HoLSTC issued their report on the implementation of the RCUK revised policy on Open Access.
Copyright and publisher permissions (i.e. which version can be made available in a repository)
Version checking to meet the above
Increasingly complex publisher statements to accompany author produced files
Publishers making demands based on the relationship between the author and the University
This was critical of the RCUK implementation and consultation around the policy, and outlined a raft of directives for monitoring the process over the next five years.
Working on an institutional repository and advocating open access to scholarly outputs, we've seen this as a mixed blessing. The Finch Report, the RCUK policy on OA, similiar moves towards opening access to research in Europe and the States have really raised the profile of Open Access, but perhaps at the cost of confidence in what can already be a complex process.
I think what makes this a particularly difficult landscape is the lack of standardisation - in policy, in the technology, in the funding and so on. Now with the start of the RCUK OA payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs) from April 1st, the strain of individual processing of each item falls further than the existing checks of -
These can be, and have been difficult messages to get across to authors, when they SHOULD be simple - maximised sharing of research produces a list of benefits for the authors (citations, collaborations) and readers (accessing research, building on scholarship) and for publishers (increased page views, ranking, visibility, citations, impact factors increased, and so on). Now we can add further complexity to this landscape pre-publication, with checks on journal and author eligibility to meet RCUK criteria.
I think the challenge now is to not get caught up in the red tape and directives and to keep in sight the reasons for making research openly accessible - don't let Open Access become a dirty word/s.
No, it doesn't. Library budget cuts cause journal cancellations. Journal price increases cause journal cancellations. Changing user needs and usage cause journal cancellations.
However the myth of OA causing journal cancellations keeps coming up again. I saw it tweeted this morning.
Back in 2006 there was an ALPSP report on factors for librarians in determining journal cancellations. Last year, a report by the ALPSP and Publishers Associatiion claimed that a six month embargo would cause a significant increase in journal cancellations by libraries across disciplines. The Times Higher Ed picked this up, with the sensational headline 'Open access will bankrupt us, publishers’ report claims'.
Please read the Q&A post on Richard Poynder's blog with the ALPSP Chief Executive Audrey McCulloch.
Specifically note the point made that journal cancellations (as noted in the 2006 Ware report) by librarians would be made first and foremost on the basis of relevance, usage and price, in consultation with faculty.
At this point I wonder if actually, double dipping from Gold OA in subscription journals might actually bankrupt Libraries, the RCUK and Universities. That's probably another blog post.
This blog contains the thoughts, findings and musings of the research repository team at the University of Bath. We are focused here on all things Open Access - from publications to payments to praise and pitfalls. We will give examples from our own experience, raise questions on topical issues and generally highlight resources that might explain open access.