Open Access Update

Very busy today with meetings. It’s a pleasant job introducing myself to all the new staff we’ve been appointing, but it does take quite a bit of time!

Anyway, I’ve just got a few moments  for a quick post while I eat a sandwich – sorry for the crumbs – in order to pass on some news about Open Access. The main thing is that, after a brief consultation last month, RCUK has (yet again) revised its policy on Open Acsess. The new guidance can be found here and there’s a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) supplement here. There’s even an explanatory blog post here.

Here’s an excerpt from the latter:

One of the most high profile additions to the guidance that we were asked for was, through Stephen Curry’s blog and subsequent letter, clarification that journal impact factors are not taken in to account when the Research Councils make funding decisions.

It’s good to see a science blogger making a real difference to policy! One can only dream.  Incidentally, I did post a little commentary on his post on here too and I’m very glad to see this clarified. Impact Factors are, frankly, bollocks. Perhaps that’s why so many publishers are obsessed with them?

I won’t copy the whole policy document here, but it is perhaps worth including the “Key Points to Note”:

  • This policy applies only to the publication of peer‐reviewed research articles (including review articles not commissioned by publishers) and conference proceeding sthat acknowledge funding from the UK’ s Research Councils.
  •  The Research CouncilsUK (RCUK) policy supports both ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ routes to Open Access, though RCUK has a preference forimmediateOpen Access with the maximum opportunity for re‐use;
  •  Funding for Open Access arising from Research Council‐supported research will be available through a block grant awarded directly to research organisations;
  •  RCUK recognises that the journey to full Open Access is a process and not a single event and therefore it expects compliance to grow over a transition period anticipated to be five years; RCUK will undertake a comprehensive, evidence‐based review of the effectiveness and impact of its Open Access policy in 2014 and periodically thereafter(probably in 2016 and 2018);
  • When assessing proposals for research funding RCUK considers that it is the quality of the research proposed, and not where an author has or is intending to publish, that is of paramount importance;
  • RCUK is mindful that the impact ofits policy on different disciplinary areas is likely to be varied and has therefore made allowance for a different pace of adjustment by permitting different embargo periods across the discipline supported by the Research Councils. We will also be mindful of these differences between disciplines when monitoring the impact of the policy and, in future processes, when looking at compliance.

This is all very much more encouraging than the original guidance, but it remains to be seen whether it will evolve further.

P.S. A new Open-Access-O-Meter is available here. Just type in the Research Council funding your research, the journal you wish to publish in, and hey presto!

3 Responses to “Open Access Update”

  1. The open-access meter is a very good idea…

    I’ve yet to understand any of the rules regarding open access and was hoping it would all be scrapped before I had to.

  2. […] I am grateful that RCUK’s Alexandra Saxon was good enough to make particular mention of our request in her blogpost to explain the most significant revisions in the new guidelines. I’m also grateful to Peter Coles (aka @telescoper) for noticing. […]

  3. Stephen Jones Says:

    Was talk about academic publishing on Material World on radio 4 this week

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