JISC scholarly communications roundtable concludes: variety will be the spice of open access
Publishers, researchers and librarians met this week to debate the global and UK position for scholarly communications including the transition from traditional journal publishing models to open access for academic research.
JISC hosted the roundtable discussion which saw experts gather to share their views on the benefits and international challenges facing higher education in making academic research more widely available, for example through open access routes.
Mark Patterson - Director of Publishing, Public Library of Science explained that he saw that there have been, "significant changes in the publishing world with several open access titles launching over the past 18 months." He also added, "We are seeing a publishing system evolving and adapting to online and digital media. However, it is not just access to research articles and papers that is important it is also being able to reuse and share the content of those articles so new knowledge can be created."
What is clear from the debate is approaching online publishing models for research with a one size fits all approach would be dangerous and care needs to be taken to ensure the models suit the research disciplines. Neil Jacobs JISC’s programme director for digital infrastructure leads JISC’s work on open access and says: “In some areas of physics, where a pre-print culture is normal, open access has been built around that. In other disciplines, such as in some areas of the life sciences, there are major open access journals and repositories. Open access is not yet common in chemistry, and the importance of monographs presents different challenges in the humanities.”
The debate looked at the possible paths to transition from the traditional journal model through to gold oa as well as talking through whether a hybrid model was also the way to go. There was agreement that peer review must remain a cornerstone of scientific publication, to ensure author’s reputations and the credibility of the research. It also contributes to the prestige of some journal titles, which are likely to remain as important brands within scientific publication.
Lorraine Estelle CEO of JISC Collections raised the point that, "there is likely to be a mixed economy for quite some time yet because of course it is a global issue and unless the whole world moves to open access in a particular discipline, there is going to be some subscription for those articles that are coming from other countries."
The debate concluded that there was a strong agreement across the delegates to work together to address these challenges to benefit research and UK plc.
View and listen to JISC’s roundtable debate heading towards the open road for UK research:
During his speech to the Association of British Science Writers recently David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, outlined the joint commitment RCUK and HEFCE are making to ensure that open access becomes a reality.
Willets said: “Transparency is at the heart of the Government's agenda, and this also applies to published research. In a recent discussion with members of the research community and publishers I stressed the importance of open access to this information for everyone, and I'm delighted that the Research Councils and HEFCE have committed to taking this forward."
James Milne - Editorial Director and Acting Managing Director, RSC Publishing, Royal Society of Chemistry
Neil Jacobs - Programme Director Digital Infrastructure, JISC
Debby Shorley - Director of Library Services, Imperial College London
Lorraine Estelle - CEO, JISC Collections
Richard Gedye - STM Director of Outreach Programme
Lorraine Estelle - CEO, JISC Collections
Mark Patterson - Director of Publishing, Public Library of Science
Philip Schofield - Professor of the History of Legal and Political Thought, UCL
Find out more about JISC's work in scholarly communications and how it is part of the Open Access Implementation Group (OAIG).