We've been involved in shaping and supporting the open access movement since its early days, and we know that our members want to see a sustainable future for open access; but what does sustainable look like when we’re talking about sharing research?
This, the tenth year of Open Access Week, is themed “Open in order to..?”. While there are many benefits of open access (OA) to research, we know that top of the list of drivers for higher education institutes (HEIs) is ensuring they remain competitive and secure ongoing funding for research.
The transition to OA brings challenges and changes to working practices and systems, including issues around managing data, keeping down costs and improving efficiencies. As an independent, non-commercial service provider and voice of the sector, we work to understand the concerns and interests of our members - this is the starting place for everything we do.
Our work to support your OA experience
Here we share ten of the ways we’re working to support higher education and research institutes to meet and go beyond the funders’ requirements, creating an open access experience which enhances existing research programmes and makes researchers’ working lives that little bit easier.
1. Open standards and solutions
Our approach is to enable our members to support their researchers by promoting the use of open standards and solutions that can reduce the risks of vendor lock-in. For example, we built a consensus for ORCiD in the UK, and now lead the UK national consortium.
2. A portfolio of services
We provide a portfolio of open access services that are driven by user need and developed according to users’ feedback and suggestions. Publications Router is one such service that helps institutions comply cost-effectively with the open access policies of research funding bodies.
3. Managing costs
We help institutions manage the cost of subscriptions and article processing charges (APCs) through our leadership in piloting a range of offsetting agreements.
Through Jisc Collections, we work on behalf of our members to identify where practical and functional improvements need to be made to simplify the process for authors and libraries, resulting in innovative agreements such as innovative agreements such as Springer Compact. The Monitor Local service helps institutions manage their own OA costs.
4. Peer-to-peer support
We facilitate peer-to-peer support for institutions in dealing with challenges of OA and helps to foster collaborative groups, user-groups and community events to increase sector capacity.
One example of this has been the OA good practice initiative, through which we supported 30 pioneering universities to engage with other HEIs to build capability, and to share techniques and resources. The OA Scotland group emerged from this initiative and we continue to facilitate community events.
5. Advice and assistance
Through our research and listening to member needs, we identify areas for future support, such as academic-led and university presses.
6. A voice for the sector
We're a facilitator for a sector-based voice in policy and service development. For example, we are currently collaborating with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Research Councils and Wellcome Trust on work to assess how their OA policies are being implemented, which will inform the next steps that those bodies will take.
7. International representation
We also represent UK HEI interests at an international level and have an international reputation for insight, expertise and contributions to the global debate, supporting the UK’s research capability to punch above its weight on the international stage.
We maintain strong relationships with European countries through the Knowledge Exchange focus on open science, and more widely through our contributions to initiatives such as the Research Data Alliance, and our long-standing collaboration with Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in the US.
8. Research and development
Through our research and development, we support open access to move beyond sharing of research publications, to the underpinning data itself, giving the potential to improve research quality and increase innovation. Our developing research data shared service aims to provide a cost-effective and flexible means to support institutions in managing and sharing their data.
9. Global discovery
We enable the global discovery and wider use of open access resources with CORE providing seamless access to millions of OA research papers, enriching the collected data for text-mining and providing unique services to the research community, enabling new types of research to emerge.
Our IRUS service enables institutions to measure the reach of their repository content.
10. Key infrastructure
We mustn’t neglect one very key service on which open access depends. The Janet Network is the infrastructure on which OA runs in the UK and across which it will develop in the future.
According to the latest figures from GÉANT, we run the busiest national education and research network in the world, capable of downloading the digital version of War and Peace in one hundredth of a second.
A sustainable future for UK universities and research institutes will understandably mean meeting the requirements of the Research Excellence Framework, the research data policies of Research Councils, and soon, UK Research and Innovation. Beyond policy requirements, it means having the tools to simplify the complex processes of managing data, and the infrastructure to publish and track content with greater ease.
With well over ten years expertise in supporting the academic community with open access, we will remain open; in order to continue collaborative working, and supporting the needs of the wider higher education and research sector with expert advice and services, for years to come.