RLUK welcomes publication of UKRI’s new Open Access Policy | Research Libraries UK

RLUK welcomes the publication today of a new Open Access (OA) policy applying to research outputs that result from UKRI funding. The new policy is the result of an extensive consultation period during which the views of all relevant stakeholders – including the research library community and RLUK – were sought and heard.

The new policy is clearly informed by the consultation and represents an evolutionary development of the current policies covering Research Council-funded research outputs.  Within the new policy, RLUK is particularly pleased to see:

A single, consistent policy covering all UKRI-funded output
A continued commitment to move to 100%, embargo-free open access;
The support of both green and gold OA as valid routes to compliance;
A commitment from UKRI to maintain block grants to institutions in support the policy;
Clarity that the use of those grants to pay APCs for articles in ‘hybrid’ journals that are not part of a transitional agreement will not be permitted; 
Acknowledgment of the vital role that rights play in scholarly communications and a requirement that both versions of record and author’s accepted manuscripts should carry the most liberal rights appropriate;
Encouragement for the use of OA preprints to facilitate open research practices; 
A measured approach to long-form works, although we note that the challenges around OA for these outputs are significantly different to those of journal articles.

RLUK and our members look forward to discussions over the coming months with UKRI on issues around allocation and management of block grants, reporting requirements, and management of exceptions. We will also work with our members to ensure that institutional repositories meet the technical requirements outlined in the policy.

Twenty years ago, the Budapest Open Access Initiative described the move to open access as unlocking ‘an unprecedented public good’. Providing access to research outputs reduces inequalities, encourages economic growth and knowledge transfer, and promotes rapid innovation (seen most dramatically over the last 18 months in the unprecedented speed with which vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed). As a result of open access policies over the past two decades, the UK has made great strides in ensuring its research outputs are available to all interested readers. This new policy from UKRI will help accelerate that change and move us closer to 100% open access.

Surprise and confusion over ERC Council’s Plan S reversal – Research Professional News

“Groups representing young researchers have expressed surprise at the decision of the European Research Council’s governing Scientific Council to withdraw its support from the Plan S open-access initiative.

Under Plan S, a group of funders known as Coalition S will require researchers they support to make their work openly available immediately from 2021 in outlets that meet certain criteria. The requirements are being adopted in the EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme Horizon Europe, including the ERC.

The ERC Council, an independent body of researchers that helps to set the strategic direction of the EU funder, had previously expressed its support for Plan S, but on 20 July it announced a U-turn, saying the impact of Plan S on young researchers and countries with limited funds had been underestimated. In particular, the ERC Council expressed concern about Plan S terms for publication in hybrid journals that offer both subscription and open-access options….”

cOAlition S Response to the ERC Scientific Council’s Statement on Open Access and Plan S | Plan S – [https://www.coalition-s.org/coalition-s-response-to-the-erc-scientific-councils-statement-on-open-access-and-plan-s/]

“cOAlition S remains firm in its view that support for hybrid journals has failed to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access over the past two decades. The already scarce funding in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme should not be used for the payment of publication fees in hybrid journals. Indeed, outside of transformative agreements, the hybrid model has no effective means to keep double-dipping by publishers in check. For this reason, many European countries, from Germany to Hungary, have recently put in place transformative agreements with publishers.

Maintaining the current status quo on hybrid journals will exacerbate inequalities among European researchers, since only those that benefit from generous funding will be able to cover expensive publication fees. In contrast, the cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy which provides Open Access in compliance with Plan S via the repository route, will empower all researchers to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription and hybrid journals.

cOAlition S is particularly attentive to the concerns of Early Career Researchers (ECR). We are grateful for the support of many ECR organisations, including the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Global Young Academy (GYA), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE). These organisations are closely collaborating with cOAlition S in order to further shape Plan S, to monitor its implementation, and to evaluate potential effects for the next generation of researchers….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”

Breaking: UC terminates subscriptions with Elsevier in push for open access to publicly funded research | UC Berkeley Library News – [https://news.lib.berkeley.edu/elsevier-outcome]

While we did make progress, particularly in the past few weeks, toward defining a model for open access publishing of UC research, Elsevier was ultimately unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research, as stated in UC’s faculty-driven principles on scholarly communication, while integrating open access publishing fees and subscription fees into a single cost-controlled contract….”