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.
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 .
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”
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.”
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
By Jean A Harris, on 16 October 2012
The Royal Historical Society has just published a letter from their President, Professor Colin Jones,, which voices concern over sustainable publishing models for the learned societies and the humanities and social sciences in general if the Finch model is adopted.
Professor Jones’ main concerns are:
1. Finch’s lack of awareness of the role of learned societies in society where sales of publications are used to cross -subsidise early career researchers in the social sciences and humanities. The models advocated for gold open access will not be financially viable and so damage future research in these areas;
2. The science bias of the proposals which does not acknowledge the different nature of humanities research which has a long shelf life , is not usually time dependent , is monograph and edited collection based and does not generally attract research grants;
3. Unless the whole international community is involved this will not work and that the idea that subscription costs will be reduced by the publishers as a result of the shift to APRs is unlikely;
4. Finch has said that this system will only work with increased funding and the funding offered thus far is insufficient, highly targeted and will put a strain on institutions already paying high subscription charges and now APR fees as well; and
5. No attention is given to the financial support for those areas without research or university funding such as early career researchers, retired, independent or overseas researchers.
He is grateful for the suggestion of an extension to the green open access route where lengthier embargoes would allow a longer payback time and urges all interested parties to join in the debate.
By Jean A Harris, on 5 October 2012
Writing in The Conversation , Terry Sutherland, Principal Scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research, Indonesia and UCL graduate (PhD 2001), praises the British Government’s desire to make all publicly funded scientific research freely available by 2014.
He writes of the ongoing debate for scientists who want to support open access but feel they must use high impact subscription journals thus preventing the popularisation of their subject area and, more importantly, access to this knowledge by scientists from developing countries.
He then summarises the open access initiatives to date highlighting the boycott by more than 11000 scientists of Elsevier, the rise of PloS and PNAS as publishers of open access journals, the initiatives by the Wellcome Trust and the altruism of the Winston Hide of the Harvard School of Public Health who resigned as associate editor of Genomics saying that he “can no longer work for a system that puts profit over access to research”.
By Jean A Harris, on 4 October 2012
The RCUK as reported in this week’s Times Higher Education Supplement has clarified its position on open access publishing . Mark Thorley, chair of RCUK’s Research Outputs Network, stated its policy at a discussion event called Open Access: Going for Gold? held last week at Imperial College.
This was after widespread misunderstanding of its position on gold (paid for) open access versus green (self archived work). Russell group universities have expressed grave doubts about the cost of using gold only on research budgets so this is a timely intervention.