Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announces new Open Access Policy

By Jean A Harris, on 11 December 2014

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that from 1st January 2015 all published research, resulting from their funding, should be made open access. This applies to both publications and underlying data.

“We have adopted an Open Access policy that enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.”

There will be a 2 year transition period, allowing a 12 month embargo by publishers, until 1st January 2017.


By Jean A Harris, on 4 December 2014

OpenAire2020 is a new EC open access project, starting in January 2015, designed to share the EU’s research and support the H2020 Open Access policies and mandates for publications and contribute to the EC’s Research Data Pilot.

“50 partners, from all EU countries, and beyond, will collaborate to work on this large-scale initiative that aims to promote open scholarship and substantially improve the discoverability and reusability of research publications and data.”

Counting the Costs of Open Access

By Jean A Harris, on 27 November 2014

A new report by Research Consulting, commissioned by London Higher and SPARC Europe, details the cost to UK research organisations of implementing funder open access policies.

“The total cost to UK research organisations in the 2013/14 academic year of implementing the RCUK open access policy was at least £9.2m. This figure excludes expenditure on article processing charges (APCs) for RCUK publications of some £11m or more, meaning the total costs were in excess of £20m.”

The report estimates the cost of making articles gold open access at £81 and green open access at £33. Smaller institutions are bearing a larger burden with no dedicated open access teams available and few economies of scale possible.

The report’s findings show that management, advocacy and the development of infrastructure are the most costly aspects of compliance at present.

They make suggestions for cost cutting which include improvements in automated processes, data sharing and making deposit speedy for authors. They state the importance of the support that Jisc is giving to reducing the cost of compliance.

In their conclusions they acknowledge the anxiety felt by research organisations over the costs involved in open access compliance. They suggest that these costs should decrease over time, as processes improve, but that further work needs to be done in this area.

Modern Languages Open

By Jean A Harris, on 21 November 2014

Modern Languages Open was launched on 28th October and looks a useful addition to both the subject and the open access fields.

“Modern Languages Open (MLO) is a peer-reviewed platform for the open access publication of research from across the modern languages to a global audience.”

MLO is published by Liverpool University Press in partnership with Liverpool University Library.

They offer Gold Open Access with CC-BY and CC-BY-NC licences.

Peer reviewers are rewarded and they claim a rapid turnaround from submission to publication.

“As part of the discounted launch of MLO, institutions are able to become members for a discounted £1000/$1500, this entitles scholars in an institution to publish ten articles (at the equivalent of £100/$150 per article) without time limit, provided those articles pass rigorous peer review.”

MLO uses Open Journal System, the open source journal management system.

This new venture has been welcomed by the academic community as is seen in one of the quotes listed on the website:
“MLO is one of the most important initiatives for modern language research in the past decades. It will transform the nature of publishing, explicitly encouraging interdisciplinarity, ensuring that high-quality and original work is published in a timely way, and significantly enlarging and democratising both the creation and the readership of modern language research”
Professor Michael Worton, author of the HEFCE Review of Modern Foreign Languages provision in higher education in England

Open Access Market: New report

By Jean A Harris, on 14 November 2014

Joseph Esposito, writing in Scholarly Kitchen, comments on a recent report by Simba information entitled: Open Access Journal Publishing 2014-2017. (Interestingly the report itself is not OA and costs $2500 to read.)

The report analyses OA from a business perspective looking at its current situation and future prospects.

The authors discuss the difficulty of establishing the actual costs of OA publishing and conclude that the challenges become the same as those of conventional publishing over time. OA represents approximately 2.3% of the market with a potential to rise to 3.9% by 2017 ($440 million) which is a significant rise for what it effectively a start-up.

Esposito comments: “OA has indeed established itself within the world of scholarly communications, though at 2.3% of the market, it is more of a toehold than a revolution. But the real story of OA is that as soon as someone found a way to make economic sense out of it, businesspeople jumped in and began to domesticate it for their own purposes.”

UCL Discovery- slow response times

By Jean A Harris, on 14 November 2014

We apologise for intermittent slow response times from UCL Discovery. The underlying causes are being investigated with the highest priority and service improvement plans are being established.

Open Data: new initiatives and funding

By Jean A Harris, on 6 November 2014

At the ODI Summit 2014 on Tuesday 4th November it was announced that Open Data will benefit from €14.4m (£11m) of EU funding according to the Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs.

The money will be used to fund startups, open data research and a new training academy for data science.

Gavin Starks, chief executive of the Open Data Institute set up by Tim Berners Lee, commented: “This is a decisive investment by the EU to create open data skills, build capabilities, and provide fuel for open data startups across Europe. It combines three key drivers for open adoption: financing startups, deepening our research and evidence, and training the next generation of data scientists, to exploit emerging open data ecosystems”.

International Open Access Week 20th-26th October 2014

By Jean A Harris, on 24 October 2014

International Open Access week celebrates the new way of making research available to anyone with an internet connection. There is now a strong move in the western world towards making all publicly funded research available to those communities that support it and HEFCE has introduced a new open access policy for REF 2020 for articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN.

Open access also helps researchers and practitioners in the developing world where subscription journals are beyond the reach of most institutions and individuals.

UCL Library marked this week with a very successful event held on Wednesday 22nd October featuring Professor Robert Harvey, UCL School of Pharmacy talking about the benefits of Open Access for researchers, Professor Geoffrey Crossick, School of Advanced Study, who outlined his work for the HEFCE Monographs and Open Access Project and Dr Verity Emmans who discussed Wiley’s Open Access options.

UCL Discovery celebrated its 5 millionth download with champagne presented by Prof Stephen Caddick, VP Enterprise & London, to UCL author Gianluca Baio for the article:

Baio, G; Blangiardo, M; (2010) Bayesian hierarchical model for the prediction of football results. Journal of Applied Statistics , 37 (2) 253 – 264. 10.1080/02664760802684177.

Do keep uploading your author accepted manuscripts to RPS , either for us to make available through UCL Discovery (green open access) or provide a copy to the Open Access Funding Team when arranging payment of APCs (gold open access).

UCL joins new data centre partnership

By Jean A Harris, on 17 October 2014

Jisc has agreed a five year partnership with Infinity to provide a specialist data centre via Janet, the UK’s national research and education network.

This will be the first shared data centre for medical and academic research in the UK.

There are six initial partners: UCL, Kings College London, The Sanger Institute, The Francis Crick Institute, LSE and QMUL but it is believed that more institutions will join on seeing the benefits offered.

“The data centre will be connected to the Janet network core and part of its backbone, therefore facilitating access, reducing costs and meeting the bandwidth requirements of large data sets. As space becomes premium on campus this is a significant step on the journey to the cloud and already indications are that this will be a major breakthrough for the UK education and research community.”

California goes (qualified) Open Access

By Jean A Harris, on 9 October 2014

Michael Hiltzik , writing in the Los Angeles Times, reports that California has voted for qualified Open Access for some publicly funded research.

“On Sept. 29, Gov. Brown signed legislation requiring that reports of research funded even in part by California taxpayers be made available to the public for free, starting with research grants made after next Jan. 1. (The legislation is AB 609, by Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert.)”

Critics are calling it watered down as papers are embargoed for one year, rather than the six months originally asked for. It now only applies to research by the Department of Public Health, not all state funded research.

The response from the bill’s drafters on the 12 month embargo is that they were concerned about the huge opposition from the publishing industry that would result. California is such a big research player that, by making the embargo shorter or having none and so challenging the NIH 12 month embargo, they might have created difficulties for Californian researchers applying for federal research funding.

They aim to use Department of Health publications as a test case that they can monitor as this is a sizable part of the state’s research output.

Open Access campaigners feel that California could have led the way, as it has in other fields, to lower/no embargoes on all publicly funded research and others may well have followed.