SHERPA/FACT, the funders and author’s compliance tool, has been found to be more than 95% accurate when checking publisher policies against funder mandates for open access – significantly higher than even experienced repository managers.
A study by the SHERPA/FACT advisory group compared the information provided by SHERPA/FACT with a control made up of members of UKCoRR (United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories), who manually checked the policies.
Where a discrepancy was identified between the two sets of data, the advisory group made an investigation into which returned the correct result, and found that SHERPA/FACT was correct in almost all of the cases, against 57% of the time for human checking.
For researchers, this should come as clear evidence that SHERPA/FACT can provide accurate results on journal and funder policy alignment on open access, better enabling them to decide where to publish their research outputs to meet funder requirements.
Neil Jacobs, head of scholarly communication support, Jisc, said:
“The transition to open access is exactly that: a transition from an established way of doing things to something completely different. As with any major change, there will understandably be barriers to overcome as people and organisations familiarise themselves with the new world.
"With this in mind it’s hugely positive that SHERPA/FACT has been proven to operate at such a high level of accuracy. It gives assurances that this technology is able to clarify journal and funder policies and help researchers make informed decisions about where they should be publishing, as well as saving time and effort in understanding where discrepancies may lie.”
Mark Thorley, chair of RCUK Research Outputs Network, said:
“I am pleased that an independent test has validated that the information in FACT is highly accurate. The Research Councils support FACT as the authoritative source of information to check if a journal is compliant with the RCUK policy on open access. We hope that all those that we fund will use FACT as the most efficient and accurate way to check journal compliance with our OA policy."
Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association stated:
“Clarity in communication of open access policies is clearly vital if researchers are to have confidence that they are complying with funder mandates. Publishers will continue to work with the SHERPA/FACT team to identify ways of better elucidating the sometimes nuanced licence conditions.”
The study was commissioned by the SHERPA/FACT Advisory Board – which includes representatives from UKCoRR, Jisc, Wellcome Trust, Research Councils UK (RCUK), CRC Nottingham, Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Publishers Association and SCONUL.
SHERPA/FACT works by syndicating information on journal policies on open access and reviewing this against the funding requirements of RCUK and Wellcome Trust. It draws this information from the SHERPA/RoMEO and SHERPA/JULIET databases respectively.
Funded by RCUK, Wellcome Trust and Jisc, SHERPA/FACT is developed and maintained by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham. To see the full data and study methodology, visit Figshare.
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