Open Access policy in the post 2014 REF

By Erica D McLaren, on 9 April 2014

HEFCE have set out their open access policy for the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). To be eligible for REF submission, the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscript of journal articles and conference proceedings must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. Credit will also be given in the research environment component for other research outputs made open access.

In preparation for the REF, UCL encourages authors to deposit copies of all research in UCL Discovery, in compliance with UCL’s existing Publications Policy. If you are choosing paid open access, the Open Access Team will deposit your published article in UCL Discovery; contact open-access@ucl.ac.uk to arrange payment. Otherwise, deposit your final manuscript with UCL Discovery via RPS.

HEFCE’s announcement can be viewed on the HEFCE website.

Article Processing Charges- a new report on the developing market

By Jean A Harris, on 21 March 2014

A new report -Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges- has just been published.

It was commissioned by a consortium of funders including JISC, Research Libraries UK, Research Councils UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

Professors Bo-Christer Björk (Hanken School of Economics,Finland) and David Solomon (Michigan State University), were asked “to analyse this market, and to develop policy options through which funders could help ensure that the market will deliver value for money for the research community” (Wellcome 2014).

Their report covers both full open access journals and hybrid journals, which host open access articles in a subscription journal. They cite a 2012 study which showed that open access articles in hybrid journal cost significantly more to publish and conclude that the hybrid journals market is “highly dysfunctional”.

Graham Taylor, an independent consultant writing in Wiley Exchanges , comments that, “The hybrid market is immature but evidence of failure is premature”.

It is hoped that the three combined scenarios suggested by the authors will pave the way “for discussion and debate on how researchers, institutions and funders can work together to ensure the open access market is competitive and delivers high-quality services for the research community” (Wellcome, 2014).

PeerJ- the new model for a biomedical open access journal to rival Plos One?

By Jean A Harris, on 13 March 2014

PeerJ prides itself on its low cost publishing model. The aim of its founders was to slash the costs that academic institutions incurred for publishing research. Initially the price was $99 for one article a year although this has now risen to $199 for the right to publish 2 papers a year and $299 for unlimited publishing rights.

One year since its inception, the journal has received plaudits for its publishing platform and its excellent customer service.

PeerJ also offers a preprints service. This allows researchers to upload early versions onto a free server for comment. Although there was scepticism initially, over 200 papers have been uploaded.

Interviewed in Times Higher Education , Dr Jason Hoyt, the co-founder, was asked about Plos One and commented that it was not necessarily a rival as there was still plenty of room for challengers to the traditional publishing model. PeerJ has survived the first year and there are no plans to increase prices.

Twenty well known institutions, including UCL, have now bought into payment plans so increasing sustainability.

BIS Committee publishes Government Response and RCUK Response to Open Access Report

By Jean A Harris, on 28 November 2013

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has published the Government and RCUK response to Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2013–14, Open Access.

Notable points include:
confirmation of academic freedom of choice over where to publish, whether green or gold open access,
a recognition of the need to counter double dipping by publishers charging both APCs (article processing charges) and subscriptions for journals.

Launch of the “Open Access button”

By Jean A Harris, on 22 November 2013

The Open Access button was launched at the Berlin 11 Open Access Conference this week to great excitement.

It is a bookmarklet that can be dragged to the toolbar of your browser so that when you encounter a paywall, in trying to retrieve a research article, you click on the button and it will search, via Google Scholar, for any free author-deposited version of the paper.

Not only will this aid the researcher but, through collection of the worldwide data generated, it will expose the extent of the paywall problem and aid the push for change.

The story behind this new development has been reported in
the Guardian .

Progress report on implementation of Finch recommendations

By Jean A Harris, on 21 November 2013

The Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, which published the “Finch Report” (2012) has now published their review of progress on recommendations one year later:
Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications
Their focus is still on the ultimate goal of gold open access via APCs but the Working Group recognise that this will take time and that green open access and Institutional Repositories have an important role in promoting access to research.
They appreciate the cost implications for research intensive universities and state,
“It is therefore important that universities, Jisc, funders and publishers (including learned society publishers) should work together to consider whether, and how, expenditures and revenues for APCs and journal subscriptions might be offset against each other”

Open Access publication does not harm book sales

By Jean A Harris, on 7 November 2013

An EU-funded project, Oapen-NL, which explored Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands, has reported that the open-access publication of monographs does not negatively impact on book sales. Instead “open access of monographs both increases the visibility and discoverability of monographs, and creates a new opportunity for a sustainable business model for monographs.”

5th BIS report on Open Access critical of recent OA developments in the UK

By Erica D McLaren, on 27 September 2013

In September 2013, the House of Commons Select Committee which looks at the work of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published its 5th report on Open Access (The report can also be found as PDF Volume 1 and PDF Volume 2).

The report praises the role of Institutional Repositories in helping the UK achieve “its world leading status (Green open access)” but says that repositories have “not been given inadequate consideration in the formation of Government and RCUK policies”.

It criticises the cost involved in transitioning to Gold Open Access and makes the point that “the major mechanism of transition must be Green open access, specifically through strong, immediate self-archiving mandates set by funders and institutions”. It also highlights issues concerning the cost of APCs (article processing charges) and the introduction or extension of embargo periods by publishers in response to (post Finch Report) RCUK and Government policy.

The report calls on the Government and RCUK to reconsider their preference for Gold open access during the five year transition period, and give due regard to the evidence of the vital role that Green open access and repositories have to play as the UK moves towards full open access.

It also recommends that RCUK realigns its policy to match that of HEFCE’s post-2014 REF proposals, which mandates immediate deposit in an institutional repository.

UCL to create Institutional Publication Fund

By Jean A Harris, on 15 February 2013

The Office of the Vice-Provost (Research) has just announced that an Institutional Publication Fund will be set up. This will allow researchers to apply for funds to cover Article Processing Charges (APCs) for Gold Open Access publication in order to comply with the new RCUK policy on RCUK funded research outputs.

This will be overseen by the Open Access Team in UCL Library Services.
All enquiries about Open Access and the Fund should be directed to open-access-funding@ucl.ac.uk.

Open Library of Humanities is launched

By Jean A Harris, on 1 February 2013

Exciting news for Open Access supporters with the launch of the Open Library of Humanities
with the “vision of building a low cost, sustainable, Open Access future for the humanities”.
This has been triggered both by the serials crisis, where costs have risen by 300% since 1986 with Library budgets unable to keep pace, and by the desire to make research more freely available and not hidden behind paywalls. Scientists have been forging ahead with open access in journals such as PLoS, leaving those in Humanities and Social Sciences behind until now.
The origins of the initiative can be found in the blog written by Martin Eve, University of Lincoln, where he describes how a call for interested parties led to over 100 responses.
The first Open Access Monographs Conference
is being co-organised by JISC Collections and the OAPEN Foundation on 1-2 July 2013 at the British Library in London with founding members of the Open Library participating. The focus will be on promoting open access in HSS amongst all stakeholders.