Ecology and Policy Blog » Blog Archive » Government and Research Councils Set Out Open Access Policy 2012-07-21


“The UK Government has today published its official response to the ‘Finch Report’ ... To complement the Government’s response, Research Councils UK has also today set out its own policy on open access to research papers and data... The Government wishes to see a transition to the so-called ‘gold’ model of open access publishing... Under the system announced by the Government and the Research Councils today, the Research Councils will ask universities to hold a certain amount of money from them in a fund which must be used to pay the Article Processing Charges ... The Government statement is clear that this funding will come from the existing research budget... Learned societies, including the British Ecological Society, have been involved in discussions with Government and funders of research for some time regarding the transition to open access publishing and broadly welcomed the proposals of the Finch group. However one issue which has exercised many is with respect to embargo periods... Today, the Research Councils announced that the results of research that they fund which is published from April 2013 must be published in a journal compliant with its new policy. This stipulates either that articles must be available free of charge immediately – with the publisher receiving an Article Processing Charge – or where this option is not available, that a pre-publication copy of the paper is deposited in an online repository within a defined period. In this case, all journal articles ... must be made available free of charge within six months of being placed online. This will doubtless be cause for concern to a number of learned society publishers. Embargo periods which are too short have the potential to destablise the business models of academic journals in certain disciplines. In many cases the revenue from academic journals is used to support the activities of learned societies and is thereby invested in the development and advancement of that academic community. As a charity, the BES supports meetings, grants, education and policy activities through the funding we receive from our five academic journals, for example... in disciplines such as ecology in which the body of knowledge tends to be augmented more slowly, researchers may be happy to wait for six months for a journal article to become available to them, with no profit therefore accruing to the learned society publisher. The Government’s proposals with respect to embargo periods differs from those of RCUK ... The Government proposes that this be 12-months in the case of science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines. The Government’s response to Finch makes it clear that ‘publications with embargo periods longer than two years may find it difficult to argue that they are also serving the public interest’. Finally, whether increased public access to science will engender enhanced public engagement with science remains to be seen. In its response today the Government has urged a group of publishers and library representatives exploring public access to journals through public libraries to press ahead with a two-year pilot scheme. Yet, as the Finch report acknowledges, ‘access on its own does not necessarily make for effective communication’. With increased public access to science there should come increased demands on scientists to make their research accessible to the public. There will also be an enhanced role for translators to ensure, as Finch suggests, that ‘research publications are accompanied by publications that present research findings in non-specialist language’. Finch calls upon learned societies, universities and funders to lead the way in this regard. These challenges were not picked up in the Research Councils or the Governments statements today but it is clear that these, and the other elements of the transition to open access, will exercise learned societies and others for some time to come.”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.government oa.mandates oa.societies oa.costs oa.hybrid oa.funders oa.fees oa.lay oa.embargoes oa.rcuk oa.recommendations oa.funds oa.benefits oa.ecology oa.finch_report oa.economic_impact oa.bes oa.repositories oa.policies oa.journals



Date tagged:

07/21/2012, 07:41

Date published:

07/21/2012, 08:38