Notes from a recent JISC event looking at where we are with open access.
The Budapest initiative in 2002 described open access as a public good which “will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge”
Are we getting close? A JISC survey of UK universities found that around 80% of outputs comply with REF policy on average. The open access aggregator CORE hosts 11 million full texts and links to over 78 million more. The overwhelming majority of researchers claim to be in favour of open access though policy still seems to be the main driver. Monitoring the transition to open access / Universities UK 2017 looks at the number of UK papers freely available.
The REF is not the only body to require open access – many funders now have policies. JISC recently produced a report Monitoring sector progress towards compliance with open access policies 2018. UKRI and Wellcome are both reviewing their open access policies at the moment.
A JISC survey found that systems for open access still largely manual and labour intensive. Some institutions are only concentrating on publications for the REF rather than making a cultural shift to open access, partly because this is the most efficient way to use scarce resources. So, although significant progress has been made, we still have some way to go to fully embrace open access.
Open access monographs
HEFCE previously announced that the next REF (2027) will require open access monographs. Consultancy work is going on to look at the challenges, barriers etc. and the effect this may have on academic publishing. Universities UK have produced their own report on the state of open access book publishing at the moment. Amongst the findings it says that the move towards open access books is a global trend and that new university presses are starting to spring up in the UK which could add to open access options available.