Open and Shut?: The Finch Report and its implications for the developing world 2012-07-18


Use the link to access the full blog post including the response of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development (EPT) to the Finch Report. The blog post opens as follows: “... In the past month ... a number of developments have served to focus minds on the respective merits of green and gold as never before. It began with the publication on 18th June of the Finch Report ... the Finch Committee concluded that a clear policy direction should be set towards supporting publication in open access orhybrid journals, funded by APCs, as the main vehicle for the publication of research, especially where the research has been publicly funded. In other words, Finch recommended that gold OA should be viewed as the norm for publishing research papers. By contrast, Finch recommended that the institutional repository (i.e. green OA) should be relegated to the role of bit player, merely ‘providing access to research data and to grey literature’ and assisting in digital preservation. Where self-archiving does take place, Finch suggested, it would be unreasonable to allow papers to be deposited before an embargo period of at least 12 months had passed (except where publishers do not offer a mechanism to pay for OA gold). The Finch report ignited a firestorm of protest, not least because it estimated that its recommendations would cost the UK research community an additional £50-60 million a year. Since it was clear that there would be no additional funding from the UK government, this meant that universities would have to find the additional money from existing budgets. Serving to spur on the complaints, a few weeks later a report commissioned by the UK Open Access Implementation Group (OAIG) concluded that green OA offered a much more cost-effective route. Specifically, OAIG said, where a unilateral move to gold OA in the UK would cost large research intensive institutions about £1.7 million a year, a unilateral move to green OA would cost only around £100,000 a year. In this light, it is perhaps unsurprising that when on July 16th Research Councils UK (RCUK) announced its new OA policy, it reinstated green OA as an equal partner to gold, and insisted on no more than a 6-month embargo (except for humanities and social science papers), apparently ignoring many of the Finch recommendations. The very next day (yesterday) the EC issued a Communication on providing better access to scientific information in which it proposed an OA policy that mimics the RCUK policy... In assuming that OA could or should be approached in a purely national way, the Finch Report failed to see (or simply ignored) the implications of establishing a model for OA that would inevitably have serious negative implications for researchers in more financially constrained parts of the world... Thus where today researchers in the developing world are unable to read much published research, gold OA will surely prevent many of them from being able to publish their own research — threatening to turn them into passive witnesses to the development of science, not active players. In this light, Finch’s one-dimensional approach to OA appears most unfortunate. And it is no surprise that many OA advocates have welcomed the more balanced approach adopted by RCUK and the EC. Who better to explain the problems that Finch poses for the developing world than the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development (EPT) — a charity whose mission it is to support the electronic publication of reviewed bioscience journals from countries experiencing difficulties with traditional publication, and which promotes open access initiatives in the developing world. Below I republish EPT’s formal response to the Finch report, which was signed by EPT chairman Professor Derek Law...”



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.comment oa.government oa.mandates oa.nih oa.universities oa.south oa.preservation oa.costs oa.reports oa.funders oa.fees oa.bmc oa.embargoes oa.rcuk oa.recommendations oa.scielo oa.budgets oa.unesco oa.debates oa.roar oa.hinari oa.grey oa.finch_report oa.oaig oa.ept oa.europe oa.repositories oa.hei oa.policies oa.research4life oa.journals



Date tagged:

07/18/2012, 22:47

Date published:

07/18/2012, 23:31