Open Access at Bath

We support open access publication at the University of Bath

House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on implementation of OA

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📥  Open Access, RCUK, Repositories

The HoLSTC issued their report on the implementation of the RCUK revised policy on Open Access.
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 -

  • 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
  • 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.




    📥  Open Access

    A new bill just introduced in the US is generating a lot of interest, especially on Twitter where I first noticed it. #FASTR - The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act.
    The best talking points I've found on the Alliance for Taxpayer Access website:, particularly:
    "This bill reflects the growing trend – by funding agencies and higher education institutions worldwide – to maximize access to and expanded sharing of research results, increasing usage by millions of scientists, professionals, and individuals, and delivering an accelerated return on their investment in research."
    So the groundswell built by the Finch Report appears to have crossed the pond. Please check out Twitter #FASTR or the site above for more information.


    OA causes journal cancellations

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    📥  Library, Open Access, Publishers, Repositories, Uncategorized

    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.


    What do you get for your money?


    📥  Open Access

    Gold open access is growing.  This is where the author or research funder pays and an article processing charge for the publication to be freely available online.  Charges vary from nothing to thousands of pounds.  So what represents good value for money?  Clearly this is an important question for the author, institution or funder paying the fee.  But it also matters to the general public whose tax money funds research.

    I’ve seen a couple of interesting approaches to answering this recently:

    Eigenfactor’s Cost Effectiveness for Open Access Journals plots article processing charges against the journal’s article influence score (a weighted citation based measure of a journal’s merit).

    Ross Mounce, a doctoral research here at the University of Bath, has produced a plot of article processing charges against the standard of openness: will you and your readers be able to re-use the paper, text-mine etc?

    Both helpful steps towards transparency and demonstrable value for money in this emerging publication model.


    Following RCUK Open Access publication changes

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    📥  Open Access, RCUK, Uncategorized

    In the wake of the Finch Report and the RCUK revised policy of OA publications, there's been, well, another revision.
    Last year, the Research Councils UK announced a change to their policy on Open Access to research publications . Research publications supported by RCUK funds should be made publicly available as detailed in the policy document.

    The RCUK has since softened its position on whether publications should be Gold or Green Open Access. They've now also softened their position on the embargo period required before an output is publicly available, as reported by the Nature News Blog and Times Higher Education

    The first of April 2013 is when the RCUK policy changes come into effect, specifically the release of block grants for OA publishing. I do wonder if we'll see a softening also of the requirements on licencing - the CC-BY licence recommended by the RCUK has also come in for a lot of criticism.

    Other newsworthy items:
    Sage cuts OA costs for authors, as reported in the Times Higher Ed news.
    The Guardian OA articles: A list of articles on OA from the Guardian.


    Open access theses gather no dust

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    📥  Open Access

    Hard copy PhD theses can often languish gathering dust in the Library stacks.  In contrast their electronic counter parts are among the most used items in the University of Bath’s online research repository Opus.

    Looking at the top 5 most downloaded items in Opus for the past quarter, 3 out of 5 are PhD theses.   These, with a grand total of 1,589 downloaded between them in the last quarter, are:

    1. Hamid, M. H. S. A., 2008. Conversion of Alcohols into Amines by Borrowing Hydrogen. Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Bath.
    2. Ignatiadis, I., 2007. ERP use, control and drift: an agency perspective. Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Bath.
    3. Pneuman, S., 2009. Defining the early indicators of dyslexia: providing the signposts to intervention. Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Bath.

    Congratulations to M. Hamid whose thesis is our most downloaded thesis in Opus.  It’s been downloaded 2,783 times so far!

    The University of Bath has required higher degree students to submit an electronic copy of their thesis since 2008.  With the author’s permission, we make these freely available online in the University’s research repository Opus.  They’re also harvested by the British Library’s electronic theses service Ethos.  There are already over 650 higher degree theses freely available in full from Opus.

    Postgraduate researchers: more information on submitting your thesis


    2013: open access gets teeth

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    📥  Open Access

    For several years now RCUK, Wellcome Trust, NIH and other major research funders have had policies requiring publications arising from the research they fund to be made open access.  But 2013 looks set to be the year in which these policies get teeth.

    Wellcome Trust have announced that, starting from April 2013, if grant holders do not comply with their open access policy then the Trust will “withhold the final 10 per cent of the 'total transferable funds' budget on the grant until all papers comply

    Similarly  the NIH have given notice of their intention to “delay processing of non-competing continuing grant awards” until recipients have demonstrated compliance with their open access policy.

    And last but by no means least, RCUK’s strengthened open access policy comes into force from 1st April 2013.  RCUK will monitor compliance, though we don’t yet know exactly how or what the consequences of non-compliance will be.  But given the example set by Wellcome Trust and the NIH, it’s safe to say the days when a funders open access policy could be quietly ignored are numbered!



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    📥  Library, Open Access, Repositories

    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.