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.
In 2017/18 RCUK expects institutions to make 75% of their RCUK funded research open access. This is a high target so please make sure you make your work open access if they provide your funding.
RCUK have clarified the licences allowed on green open access articles for the research they fund (6.2 on their FAQ list). These are articles made freely available in an institutional repository. Articles should place no restriction on non-commercial reuse (including text and data mining) and should allow adaptations of the material to be shared. This means that a CC-BY-NC licence is acceptable but a CC-BY-NC-ND licence is not. There is more detail on these licences on the creative commons web site.
Elsevier currently insist on a CC-BY-NC-ND licence for green open access which does not fit RCUK requirements so if you are publishing with them it would be best to apply for funding for gold open access. You can do this using the online form on our APC page when you have an article accepted. The Sherpa FACT tool allows you to check that journals from other publishers meet RCUK requirements.
If an author chooses the green route the embargo period should be a maximum of 6 months for STEM subjects and 12 months for arts, humanities and social sciences. This is a shorter time period than that allowed for the REF (2.1 on FAQ list). However, a longer period is allowed if there is no money for gold open access.
Innovate UK and the UK space agency are not part of RCUK so research funded by them cannot be paid for using the block grant – some people have been unsure about this.
If you are bewildered by the different licences and requirements please be assured that you will not be alone in this! Contact the Library research support team for advice about your own publications email@example.com
We have noticed that people are often confused about which version of their article they should put in Cronfa. This isn’t surprising as articles have a lifecycle of their own. Typically you will have:
First draft / preprint – this may well not have page numbers and won’t have any of the journal formatting. This will be sent off to the journal and sent out to peer reviewers.
Author accepted manuscript or postprint – this is the version which has been passed by peer reviewers and may have had some changes due to their comments. It is this version which you need to deposit in RIS / Cronfa to be eligible for the REF. It will still typically be in Word format and won’t have had journal formatting such as Journal title, page numbers etc. added yet. This is not the same as “In press” or “online first” versions which have publisher formatting and shouldn’t be used without publisher permission.
Documents will be eligible for the REF if they contain things like track changes and corrections. However, this will be available to the wider world so make it look as professional as you have time for.
Published version or Version of Record – this will contain all the publisher’s formatting and is in appears as it will in the journal. In some cases you can deposit the published version – this will be where your article is “gold” open access. Usually you will have paid an article processing charge for this to apply.
You can find information on inputting versions to RIS in a previous post.
Which do you need to deposit to be eligible for the REF?
You will usually need to deposit at least the author accepted manuscript / postprint. The REF will require a version which is post peer-review. You may need an embargo period to satisfy your publisher – check Sherpa Romeo or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this makes things clearer. However, there are journals which use different procedures and where formatting is applied earlier in the process so please do contact us if you are still unsure what to deposit.
Don’t forget that you need to start doing this by 1 April 2016 at the latest!
For many subject areas – notably the humanities and social sciences – publishing research in the form of an edited book chapter is still highly valued. Nonetheless, there have been articles debating the issues with this form of publication (such as the blog post “How to bury your academic writing” by Dorothy Bishop, with a response from Terry Clague). One way to boost readership for a book chapter can be inclusion in a repository such as Swansea University’s Cronfa.
Researchers funded by the Wellcome Trust must now make book chapters open access (discussed in this blog post) and other funders may follow suit. Book chapters are not one of the output types covered by the imminent (1 April 2016) REF requirement to be made open access. However, HEFCE do mention extra credit for making all research open access where possible. Some publishers do offer the option to pay to make a book chapter immediately open access but this relies on the researcher being able to find the money. This may well not be needed if the alternative self-archiving route is possible.
There is no easy way to check publisher policies for self-archiving book chapters (compared with the Sherpa Romeo database for journals) but increasingly we are finding publishers allow self-archiving, albeit with an embargo period. Information is sometimes found on publisher websites (e.g. Brill) or you may need to contact the publisher and ask them directly. The University of Cambridge’s website has a summary of policies from a few publishers and there is a spreadsheet which maintained by UK librarians which covers additional publishers.
At the time of writing there are just over 1000 book chapters by Swansea University researchers on Cronfa but only 37 available for readers to download. It would be great to see that count increase as more researchers embrace the benefits of making their book chapters open access!
Contact us (email@example.com) if you would like to explore your open access options.
Some final thoughts after International Open Access Week:
As you will know, the UK has open access requirements for the next REF and the Research Councils of RCUK also have open access requirements. So, where do these ideas come from and is the UK the only country to be pushing open access?
The movement first started with the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. The signatories recognised the potential of the internet to change the dissemination of research. They felt that more open literature could “ 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”. Although this noble aim still has a long way to go there has been progress around the world.
The Pasteur40A project is trying to co-ordinate the open access policies of different member states. The European Commission has open access requirements for its research programmes. Science Europe has set standards for open access publishers. Individual countries are making progress in their own way, for example, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.
BioMed Central has 14 members of staff serving the Chinese research community and China is now the country which submits most articles. In May 2014 at the Global Research Council meeting in Beijing the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Natural Science Foundation of China announced the first open access mandate at national level requiring researchers to make their work free access within 12 months of publication (from Biomed Central blog)
The US has had an open access policy since 2013 and government departments routinely make their research open.
This blog post from Richard Poynder interviews an Indian advocate for open access about progress in his country.
This is just a brief taste of the activity going on around the world. Join in and make your work open access.
Swansea University will be marking the global event Open Access Week 2015. This celebrates the power of openness to drive collaboration and advance research. Here’s how you can join in:
- Sign up for the “5 Days of OA” daily mini-briefings to get yourself up to speed with Open Access: the open access movement has been gaining momentum in recent years with increasing numbers of funder mandates plus HEFCE’s new open access policy for the next REF. We will send you a short summary each day on what you need to know/do to ensure you comply with these new demands. Sign up here!
- Tue 20th Oct, 1-2pm: attend the “Why publish open access?” Staff Development topic session: “A look at the benefits and issues of making your work openly available in this open access week. You are welcome to bring questions!” Room 271, DTS, Park Campus. Book via ABW.
- Wed 21st Oct, 2-3pm: attend our “Getting REF-ready: what you need to do for HEFCW’s new open access policy” briefing: SURF Room, Fulton House, Park Campus *Booking Essential!*
- Visit our Open Access pop-up stands with guidance, advice and cake: bring along your questions about open access or RIS:
- Wed 21st Oct 9-10am, Callaghans, Park Campus
- Thur 22nd Oct 12-2pm, ILS Foyer, Park Campus
- Fri 23rd Oct, 12-2pm, Coffeeopolis, Engineering Central, Bay Campus
- Follow us on Twitter all week with the hashtag #swanoaweek
Librarians reach for alcohol after changes to HEFCE’s OA Policy for the next REF
You may have heard a great collective sigh of despair last week (followed by the clink of gin bottles) as Research Librarians across the UK reacted to HEFCE’s “policy adjustments and qualifications” to the Open Access (OA) policy for the next REF. In most universities across Britain there has been a big effort to make researchers aware of these new and complex open access requirements. Many felt that getting the message out has not been helped by the message being altered – slightly – and the resulting publicity. However, HEFCE are aiming to ease the burden on universities: having reviewed progress across UK institutions in implementing their OA policy, they have now responded to the challenges identified with “flexibility”.
So what has changed for researchers/authors?
- Timeframe for making outputs OA:
- BEFORE: the original policy required all eligible outputs to be uploaded into RIS and made open access within 3 months of acceptance for publication (with some allowance for embargo periods). This was due to start on 1 April 2016.
- NOW: between 1 April 2016 and 1 April 2017, researchers can upload the output to RIS within 3 months of publication. So this essentially gives researchers a temporarily longer period to comply. How long will depend on the time between an article being accepted for publication and its actual publication which will vary greatly between journals and disciplines. As this is only a temporary arrangement (to be reviewed in Autumn 2016), we are still going to be advocating acting within 3 months of acceptance as this remains the core of the HEFCE policy.
- Gold Open Access
- BEFORE: even when publishing via the “Gold” (paid-for) open access route, researchers still had to upload the accepted version of a paper as a minimum within 3 months of acceptance (or the final published version if that was available).
- NOW: this is still strongly encouraged but depositing gold open access papers is now an exception to the policy “where depositing the output on acceptance is not felt to deliver significant additional benefit”.
- BEFORE: zero tolerance of failure to adhere to the Open Access policy and those outputs would be ruled out of the REF unless they had claimed an exception.
- NOW: “we will therefore be tolerant of occasional failures where institutions have made best endeavours towards achieving full compliance”. They are considering a period of grace to allow any missed outputs to comply “likely to be three months after the end of the REF publication period”.
The spirit of the original policy has not changed and the “Swansea University Open Access Policy” still adheres to the principle of deposit being required within 3 months of acceptance. We have updated our resources but the “In a Nutshell” section on our guidance document remains unchanged:
- The date of acceptance for publication is the critical point for an author to act.
- Details of your publication (as much as you know at that point) should be entered into RIS and published to Cronfa
- The “author accepted manuscript” / “final peer-reviewed manuscript” / “post-print” should be uploaded to RIS and published to Cronfa, respecting any copyright conditions imposed by the publisher (e.g. embargo periods).
- Ensure the full publication details are completed when these are known.
- The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN but credit will be given for “enabling open access” for all outputs.
As always, we can help at any point if you have questions or concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org
Swansea University’s OA Guidance sheet (PDF) and guide to using RIS (PDF).