“As was predicted early 2013, by the Chairman of the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee: “Current UK open access policy risks incentivising publishers to introduce or increase embargo periods”. By September 2013, there was clear evidence this was happening.
Now, in the final year of the RCUK transition period, the situation is far, far worse….
This last technique to squeeze every penny out of government funds is possibly the most cynical and puts even more lie to the claims publishers make about the necessity for embargo periods. Either making an author’s accepted manuscript available in a repository causes the cancellation of journal subscriptions or it doesn’t. The funding behind the research described in the paper is irrelevant.
“The progressiveRCUK policy on open accesshas recentlycome under fire, particularly from humanities scholars, for favouringGold OA over Green. For various reasons — and I won’t, for now, go into the question of which of these reasons are and aren’t sound — they favour an approach to open access where publishers keep final versions of their papers behind paywalls, but drafts are deposited in institutional repositories (IRs) and people who want to read the paper can have access to the drafts.
It’s appealing to think that this relatively lightweight way of solving the access problem can work. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced it can, for several reasons. I’ll discuss these below, not so much with the intention of persuading people that Gold is a better approach, but with the hope that those of you who are Green advocates have seen things that I’ve missed and you’ll be able to explain why it can work after all….”
“This Excel spreadsheet records the applications made for open access article processing charges (APCs) through the Research Councils UK (RCUK) block grant at the University of Cambridge, via the Office of Scholarly Communication, Cambridge University Library, between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.”
“This statement articulates UK Research and Innovation’s high level policy and common principles around Open Access. These principles reaffirm the open access policies of the REF and the research councils, and will inform the development of UKRI’s policy for Open Access, the UKRI Open Access review and wider UKRI policy development in open research….”
“‘Open access’ aims to make the findings of publicly-funded research freely available online as soon as possible, in ways that will maximise re-use. This is central to UKRI’s ambitions for research and innovation in the UK, as sharing new knowledge has benefits for researchers, the wider higher education sector, businesses and others.
A statement that sets out UKRI’s high level policy and principles on open access, common to both the former HEFCE and Research Council policies, is available. This will inform the development of UKRI’s policy in this area, including a review of open access.
In the interim period, the UK Funding Bodies’ open access policy for the second Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) will apply as it stands. Any UKRI policy changes will only apply to the REF after REF 2021. Further information on the REF open access policy is available….”
“Research councils consider the journal impact factor and metrics such as the H-index are not appropriate measures for assessing the quality of publications or the contribution of individual researchers, and so will not use these measures in our peer review processes. …The research councils will highlight to reviewers, panel members, recruitment and promotion panels that they should not place undue emphasis on the journal in which papers are published, but assess the content of specific papers, when considering the impact of an individual researcher’s contribution….The Research Councils will sign DORA as a public indication of their support for these principles….”
“The University’s 2017–18 Open Access Block Grant from RCUK has now been exhausted. A new allocation will be available from 1 April 2018. RCUK-funded authors are therefore asked to delay submission of new articles to journals until 1 February 2018, and contact the Bodleian APC Team pre-submission (see the Open Access website for procedure). Please note that RCUK does not permit APCs (article processing charges) or page/other publication charges to be paid from individual RCUK awards – they must be paid from the block grant. Researchers are reminded that Oxford’s block grant will only pay APCs for fully open access journals (ie in the Directory of Open Access Journals), not ‘hybrid’ journals (subscription journals with a paid OA option). RCUK has stated that funding for APCs and other publication charges will continue for at least a further two years (April 2018–March 2020).”
Abstract: The presentation describes a number of examples of innovative workflows around the management of Article Processing Charges (APCs) as implemented at the University of Strathclyde Library. It’s argued that a certain creativity may be applied to the area of institutional APC management with the two-fold purpose of (i) extending the funding eligibility beyond the default coverage provided by the RCUK and COAF block grants and (ii) paying lower APC fees whenever possible. The background strategy is to build a relation of trust with as many researchers as possible that will make it easier for them to remain aware of the need to meet the (Green) Open Access policy requirements. It’s also argued that there could be significant benefits to be reaped from the extension into this APC management area of the current cross-institutional collaboration within the Open Access Scotland Group.
“Research Councils UK invites proposals from eligible UK research organizations to establish and lead a number of challenge-led and impact-focused GCRF Interdisciplinary Research Hubs which meet the aims of Official Development Assistance….Organizations that wish to be research partners (for example higher education organizations, public laboratories, or other non-profit research intensive organizations) must demonstrate compliance with the following criteria: …Public good and open publications – Organizations will need to demonstrate a track record of maximizing the wider impact and value of its research to the benefit of society and local economy and should have a commitment to the principle of open access publication….”
“This document summarises the information that RCUK has collected as part of the ongoing financial and compliance monitoring of its Open Access Policy. For the first reporting period, which covered the period April 2013- July 2014, RCUK did not collect individual article level APC data but for the second and third reporting periods (August 2014 – July 2015 and August 2015 – July 2016) this information was collected and is reported on within….”
“The beginning of April marked the end of the fourth year of RCUK’s Open Access (OA) policy. We submitted our finance and compliance report in May and have made our 2016-17 APC data available via the University’s institutional repository, Pure.
The headlines for us from this period are:
We have estimated 75% compliance for 2016-17 (54% Gold OA and 21% Green OA).
This is a significant increase in Green OA. In part this is due to the launch of HEFCE’s OA policy but it is also a consequence of the constraints of the block grant, ie, we have been unable to meet demand for Gold OA during the reporting period.
Despite the increase in Green OA, expenditure on Gold OA has not decreased. This is partly due to publishers that do not provide a compliant Green OA option but increased APC unit level costs are also a factor.
We have reported an 18% increase in the average APC cost in 2016/17 (£1869) against the 2015/16 average (£1578). To some extent this increase can be accounted for by foreign exchange rate differences.
Although we operate a ‘first come, first served’ model for allocating the block grant, it was necessary to impose restrictions for 3 months of this period. We limited expenditure to Pure Gold OA journals, non-OA publication fees and hybrid journals that do not provide a compliant Green OA option.
The level of Gold OA achieved has only been possible due to continued investment from the University (£0.2m) and credits/discounts received from publishers relating to subscription packages and offsetting deals (£0.1m).
We arranged Gold OA with 60 different publishers. Of these, we managed offsetting schemes and memberships with 11 and arranged Gold OA for only one paper with 20.
We continued to assess publisher deals to obtain best value from the block grant but are committed to engaging only with publishers that offer a reasonable discount and overall fair OA offer.
As in previous years, most APCs were paid to Elsevier (139), almost double the number paid to the next publisher, Wiley (75).
As in previous years, our highest cost APC (£4679) was paid to Elsevier. The lowest cost APC (£196) was paid to the Electrochemical Society.
We reported expenditure of £72,297 on ‘other costs’. This amount includes colour and page charges as well as publication fees associated with Green OA papers.
Despite reminders to authors that papers must be published as CC-BY, 8 papers were published under non-compliant licences and we were unable to identify licences for a further 16 papers. We contact publishers to correct licences when we are aware of a non-compliant licence.
We continued to see engagement with Gold OA from Humanities researchers who produce outputs other than journal articles. We have supported Gold OA for one monograph and one book chapter during the reporting period, at a cost of £11,340 from the block grant. A further monograph has been paid for from an institutional OA fund.
Despite a concerted effort on our part we continued to see inconsistency in the inclusion of grant acknowledgements on papers. We act in good faith when approving payment from the block grant but believe a joined up approach from RCUK, institutions and publishers is needed to ensure all researchers are aware and fulfil this requirement consistently.”
“Due to increased demand for ‘gold’ open access and a significant reduction in the University’s RCUK open access block grant allocation, the Open Access Team has introduced a restriction on the use of the fund for the payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs).
The Open Access Team has ring-fenced the remaining allocation for the following types of costs:
APCs for fully Open Access journals (i.e., journals which do not sell subscriptions and in which all articles are Open Access, e.g., BioMed Central, PLOS One, Nature Communications)
APCs for journals that do not offer a Green Open Access option that complies with RCUK’s Open Access policy
In most cases it is possible for RCUK funded authors to comply with its Open Access policy by making papers Green Open Access (i.e., uploading your Accepted Manuscript to Pure which will be made freely available after a specified embargo period).
The restriction in use of the block grant will commence from the 1st June 2017 onwards.”
“The Lancet journals welcome and support all efforts to make research more widely accessible and useable in ways that continue to sustain our broad mission to serve clinical medicine and global health. We will, in accordance with the new RCUK policy, offer either a “gold” open access choice with a creative commons license after payment of an article processing charge of US$5000, or a “green” open access solution—where authors can deposit the final accepted version of their paper in any repository they choose 6 months after publication—for all RCUK-funded research papers submitted after April 1. In addition, for the “green” open access solution we will also make the published paper free to access on our websites 6 months after publication.
These options and a choice of three different creative commons licenses (CC-BY, CC BY-NC-SA, or CC BY-NC-ND) will be open to authors of all research papers supported by those funders with whom we currently have payment agreements….”