Open Access: A Benefit Not a Burden That is Worth the Cost - HEPI

peter.suber's bookmarks 2024-06-20


"The argument presented recently on this blog by representatives of Oxford University decrying the linkage of OA to the REF (which is now proposed to apply to long-form publications such as monographs and book chapters) touches on some valid questions about implementation, but we do not find their arguments convincing....

Perhaps most discouraging is the question raised by Grant et al. of why the REF should have an OA policy at all. This echoes objections raised a decade ago when OA for the REF was first mooted but ignores the fact that the REF awards public money. Denying any section of the public access to the outputs of that work is asking for funding without accountability.

Their question also downplays the significant public good that the mandate has achieved, including the transformative effect of the REF OA requirements implemented in 2016, which produced a huge boost in the accessibility of UK research. Indeed, open access has many benefits for many parties. It allows research to reach the widest audience, particularly among those who lack university journal subscriptions or library access. It facilitates the detection of fraudulent research practices. It ensures global participation in the research endeavour. And it helps people with disabilities who cannot access physical academic libraries with any ease. We create a fairer, more equal, society by removing barriers to access for everyone....

Is it so outrageous, when awarding over a billion pounds of public funding, to insist that a mere 1.7% of it is spent to ensure the public can see the results? Further, if truly seeking to contain costs, they might implement robust and responsible research assessment exercises that would free scholars from the demands of ‘prestige publishing’ and the price hikes of prestige publishers in the first place. They could also consider investing QR funds to support scholar-led publishing operations, such as the Open Library of the HumanitiesUniversity College London’s open access press, or Cambridge University’s Diamond OA journals platform. We must all of course continue to engage in the technical, commercial and cultural arguments thrown up by the REF and OA, but let us do so with a clearer view of all the issues at stake...."


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » peter.suber's bookmarks

Tags: oa.ref oa.assessment oa.policies oa.objections oa.debates oa.mandates oa.books oa.humanities oa.funding oa.ssh

Date tagged:

06/20/2024, 09:22

Date published:

06/20/2024, 05:24