Working towards global open access, in partnership with information professionals and researchers, we enable the UK's academic research community to realise the rewards of open access.
By using our open access (OA) services, information professionals and researchers save time and money and achieve greater reach for their research.
Our services provide user-friendly and cost-effective ways to automate workflows, assess compliance, share good practice, carry out benchmarking and influence third parties such as publishers and funders.
Acting for and with the higher education sector, we are easing the move to open access.
Policy and engagement
Our work is developed in line with UK government, funding councils and research funders' policies.
We have engaged with open access policy for many years, both in the UK and more widely. Our work continues, in order to ensure that the OA policy environment offers the maximum benefit with minimum burden for institutions and researchers.
While we support the aims of OA, we do not have a policy position on how this is achieved. Rather, our policy work is informed by the evidence of benefit and burden to UK research, and the wider economy and society.
There are many groups in the UK and internationally whose remit includes OA, and Jisc is active in many of them. This graphic (pdf) shows many of the groups, and might be a helpful resource for those navigating this landscape.
The Universities-UK Open Access Coordinating Group is the main body which the UK government looks to in relation to OA. It brings together publishers, learned societies, universities, libraries, research managers, funders and others.
We play an active role in this group. One example was helping to shape and oversee the production of its 2015 report on monitoring the transition to open access. Further such reports are anticipated. Another example is our participation in all four of the subgroups focusing on efficiencies, journal service standards, repositories and monographs, including acting as secretariat for the efficiencies group.
Other policy involvement
We also sat on the independent panel that, under Sir Bob Burgess, reviewed the implementation of the Research Councils' OA policy during 2015.
We are in regular contact with officers within the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Research Councils (RCUK) and the Wellcome Trust, as well as maintaining close relationships on this topic with Universities UK (UUK).
In all this work, we benefit from reflection and advice from our OA sector group, with representatives from the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), Research Libraries UK (RLUK), the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and the United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR), which meets quarterly.
Our own Jisc Collections content strategy group is an invaluable source of advice with respect to our negotiations with publishers.
Internationally, we participate in a small number of highly influential networks to benefit UK universities in this area.
One is the Knowledge Exchange, which has a working group on OA, whose current focus is mainly on APC transactions, on the monographs landscape, and on monitoring open access. It has previously done extensive work with OA policy makers to explore the extent to which they are interested in sustaining the infrastructure and services on which their policies depend.
Another network in which we are active is the Open Scholarship Initiative, which aims to be a global, inclusive effort to improve the future of how research information gets published, shared and accessed.
EC project involvement
Another network is the policy “knowledge net” that emerged from the EC-funded project PASTEUR4OA, in which we were a major partner. That has now merged with the OpenAIRE National OA Desk (NOAD) network; Jisc is the UK NOAD, and is a partner in the OpenAIRE project.
While we inform policies themselves we can also see that, in some cases, total alignment of policies will not be possible. Having those differences expressed clearly becomes very important for those trying to implement them. We have worked with SHERPA/Juliet, the Registry of Open Access Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) and others to develop a schema for funders’ and institutions’ OA policies, which we are now promoting.
Publishers have policies too, for example associated with the journals they publish. These are documented in our SHERPA/RoMEO service, but we are also working directly with publishers, alongside funders, libraries and others, to see whether the expression of those policies can be made clearer.
Open access has been around for a long time, and we have been helping universities exploit its potential for nearly as long.
From programmes in the early 2000s such as FAIR, which produced SHERPA and RoMEO and undertook preparatory work for the British Library’s ETHoS e-thesis service), to briefings and reports on the subject (see, for example, this author study and briefing paper, both from 2005).
Notably, with international partners, we supported a petition to the EC in 2007 that was highly influential in its subsequent moves toward OA.
Evidence to support policy development
While some, such as the Wellcome Trust and individual research councils, had adopted OA policies by this time, a series of reports on the economic costs and benefits of OA helped to bring the topic to the attention of more policy makers.
In 2009 we published the landmark report, economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: exploring the costs and benefits, or “Houghton Report”. This presented detailed data and analysis showing a compelling economic case for OA in the UK, though at that time OA was a controversial issue.
At the same time, with other members of the Open Access Implementation Group, we explored the benefits of OA to the private, public and third sectors, a topic taken up more recently through our involvement in the European PASTEUR4OA project.
The culmination of this work in 2012 was another analytical report, again with the Research Information Network and others, called Heading for the Open Road. This laid the basis for the UK government to establish a working group under Dame Janet Finch, whose 2013 report stands as the basis for UK OA policy.
As the direction of UK policy became clear, during 2012-13, again - in part - through the Open Access Implementation Group, we also commissioned work that used Houghton’s economic model to explore the potential financial implications of OA for UK universities - especially of Gold OA - particularly via hybrid journals. It became clear that these implications might be substantial, and so we developed the concept of the total institutional expenditure on journals (sometimes called the “total cost of ownership”).
Following a review of the implementation of the recommendations from the Finch report, the UK government proposed that the risks to institutions’ finances be mitigated by offsetting their OA payments to publishers against their subscription payments. Having done several such agreements, we released some principles for them in early 2015. However, by this time we, with the Wellcome Trust and others, had commissioned research that posed more fundamental questions about hybrid journals.
Infrastructure and related issues
As well as looking at the economic and policy issues, through the 2000s, we also supported international work on legal issues, and quality and impact, and reports on technical matters such as repository interoperability, federated access to repositories, and, more recently, to international discussions on researcher identifiers, having launched the UK ORCID consortium.
The UK institutional repository infrastructure was supported through, for example, start-up grants, support projects and, more recently, by a review of the potential for a UK showcase site, the “open mirror”.
Policy advice and alignment
You can read more about our most recent policy engagement - both through active membership of the Universities-UK OA Coordinating Group and participation in the EC project PASTEUR4OA, in the section above on our current work in OA.
Jisc Collections is supporting higher education with the transition to open access through cost management (offsetting subscriptions or APC prices), policy compliance, gold OA publishing agreements and projects exploring OA monograph publishing.
We're working with publishers to constrain costs through:
Negotiations to offset the cost of hybrid journals
Jisc Collections has reached agreements with a range of publishers including Wiley, Taylor and Francis, IOPP, SAGE Publishing and Springer to develop offset models to alleviate the cost faced by higher education institutions in maintaining subscriptions to hybrid journals while also paying article processing charges (APCs) for open access (OA) publication.
A number of different offsetting approaches are being tested or are in use. This limits the total cost paid by individual institutions, for both APCs and subscriptions/licence fees. One model flips the traditional approach so that the fee paid relates to UK authored published articles, with a smaller fee providing access to other content. Another proportionally reduces the subscription prices as UK OA publishing increases. Other models provide discounts, credits or tokens related to expenditure.
The overall aim is to limit and constrain the negative financial impact on institutions of licensing journal content and paying APCs for OA articles published in those same journals.
Based on its experience so far, Jisc Collections has issued a set of principles for offset schemes.
Data gathering in support of offsetting negotiations
Jisc Collections is continually collecting evidence of the effectiveness and administrative implications of these offset agreements and amends its negotiation objectives in response to that evidence.
It collects data on individual APC transactions from UK universities, with 20-30 reporting at present using a standard template agreed with the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) and the research councils, and this data provides hard evidence on the state of the UK APC market.
Agreements for OA journals and monographs
See a list of all our open access agreements on the Jisc Collections website.
Consortium agreement with ORCID
SCOAP3 UK universities participation management
We recommend global open access compliance standards for publishers. Read more on the scholarly communications blog.
Helen Blanchett is our subject specialist (scholarly communications).
Helen’s role is to provide specialist advice in the area of scholarly communications, including open access.
As our subject specialist, she is happy to talk to you about any aspect of Jisc’s open access support and providing tailored advice and guidance on which services and support will meet your needs, drawing in expertise from across Jisc’s OA team.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0209 819 8277.