A look at the work we are doing to support UK universities and publishers adopt open access policies.
Today is the first day of Open Access Week and the last day of Jisc’s consultation on Vocabularies for Open Access (V4OA) . So I want to take this opportunity to take a look at the work we at Jisc are doing to support UK universities and publishers adopt open access policies and why it is so important for UK research.
The UK Government, along with those of the US and several European countries, has a policy supporting open access, which is based on the recommendations of the Finch Report. The one year review is currently being drafted by the working group, led again by Dame Janet Finch and we await the results with keen interest.
Open access, essential for research funding
All major research funders operating in the UK have, or plan to have, a policy mandating open access for research they fund (summarised on the searchable database Sherpa Juliet). These funding policies mention drivers such as innovation, growth, public engagement, transparency and open data as well as the policies which have developed from the analysis of these trends.
We have a long history of providing support for people working in UK education and research to understand open access. Since developing the gold open access pilot in 2004 we have supported start-up repositories, tools and the development of interoperability standards and protocols for green open access. We have also developed information and guidance about open access which you can find on our website.
In July this year we held a conference at the British Library, coinciding with the new Wellcome Trust open access mandate covering monographs, which addressed the serious challenges in the research monograph market. The event raised awareness of new models for monograph publishing and was pivotal to the understanding of open access.
The emphasis of funder policies varies, as does their implications for universities. The Research Councils and Wellcome Trust prefer gold open access but this can make significant new demands on universities.
The over-subscribed Jisc-APC pilot is now helping universities manage the complicated many-to-many transactions required by open access publishing. The technical infrastructure needed to support these transactions within institutions, and between them and publishers, is very new. To clarify this process we have brought together a wide range of stakeholders to help identify all the different requirements and options. This should support vendors and publishers to provide better services to institutions, reducing inefficiencies.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has proposed that all articles and conference papers submitted for the Research Excellence Framework after 2016 should be open access and accessible through an institutional repository. I’m pleased to say that we have invested in this infrastructure for some years; the current focus being a set of services that make repositories more efficient, saving the sector around £1.4m per year. These services cover rights and permissions, usage statistics and the transfer of open access content into institutional repositories from elsewhere.
Making the system clear
At Jisc we keep hearing from people in universities who are worried about the reporting requirements being placed on them as a result of funders’ open access policies. Without agreement on what information is needed, and in what format, there are risks not just of an increased burden on HEIs but also duplicate or inaccurate data collection, and open access policy being misapplied.
We are working with publishers, Research Information Network, funders and representatives of higher education institutions to agree indicators relevant to the transition to open access.
Some requirements are already clear and we have proposed information standards covering key aspects of open access; like rights, embargo periods and versions of articles. An open consultation on these proposals closes today. We hope that acceptance and wide deployment of these standards will reduce friction in the transactions between HEIs, funders and publishers.
We also learn as we go and adapt our work to the current environment and in response to feedback from customers and stakeholders to plan the next steps. Because of this flexible approach we cannot predict the tools and services which we will offer in future. However, it is clear that the Research Council UK and HEFCE policies, and their response to the review report from the Finch Group, will be important drivers for institutions. We will work with them to understand how digital technologies can minimise the burden on universities and maximise their opportunities to benefit from open access.
Opportunities for the future
- A service offering universities and authors detailed and accurate guidance on how to comply with funder mandates while publishing in particular journals
Because mandates and journal policies are complicated and confusing it makes it hard for HEIs to offer clear individual advice to their researchers which may leading to a risk that they might not comply with standards.
- The Knowledge Unlatched proposal for open access monographs
It has the potential to change the research monograph market, making it easier for HEIs to afford the books their researchers need, while not restricting publication to those who can afford it.
- Report on OA monographs event
Caren Milloy from Jisc is publishing a new report on the July Open Access Monographs conference with a summary of the feedback from attendees.
- An aggregation of the UK’s open access research publications
An 'Open Mirror', which could provide HEIs and researchers with a platform for the discovery, use and preservation of that material, increasing its impact. You can read more about this project on our blog tomorrow.
- The interoperability and efficiency of the UK’s repository infrastructure, as recommended by the Finch Report and subsequent policy statements
This would help reduce duplication of effort and make it easier for HEIs to get value from their infrastructure.
Article Processing Charges
Jisc are piloting a new model for Article Processing Charges. In our work on this area we aim to deliver:
An exploration of key issues and challenges within a gold open access environment
The pilot aims to gather and share information on systems, processes, workflows and standards, and test the overall efficiencies that a third party, such as Jisc Collections, might offer to the various participants. Reflecting on and communicating lessons learned will avoid duplication of effort and result in greater efficiencies for all stakeholders.
An online administration platform for pilot institutions
An online administration delivered by Jisc Collections in conjunction with its technology partner Open Access Key (OAK). OAK is providing the underlying technical infrastructure and Jisc Collections is managing all aspects of the payment cycle. These include holding funds for institutions, making timely payments to publishers and providing the financial reports designed to help manage funds effectively, as well as publisher engagement through a range of options for participation.
Further information and resources
Find out more about open access through our guides and advice, and the materials we have helped produce for the Open Access Implementation Group (OAIG). Look out for an OAIG briefing for universities implementing the Research Councils’ open access policy later this week.