‘The attitude of publishers is a barrier to open access’ | UKSG

“Transitioning to open research is incredibly important for the University of Liverpool for two reasons: the external environment we are now operating in, and our own philosophy and approach to research.

But there are barriers, particularly the research culture and the attitude of publishers….

In my experience, the biggest barrier is culture: researchers are used to operating in a particular way. Changing practice and mindset takes time and must be conducted sensitively.

Open research benefits all researchers, so having their support on this journey is vitally important.

Some researchers are concerned that publishing their work open access has implications for their intellectual property (IP) rights. In fact, this is a perceived problem, since the same IP protections apply to all work, whether published behind a paywall or published open access.

Despite the recognition that citation metrics are not a suitable proxy for research assessment, some researchers continue to seek the kudos of publishing in a so-called prestige journal with a high-impact factor, such as ‘Nature’.  They see this as a key career goal and worry their progression will falter without this achievement….

So, while I acknowledge there has been significant progress towards open access globally, and in particular compliance with UKRI’s open access policy, the attitude of publishers which are driven by profit margins continues to be an unacceptable barrier….”

How should Dora be enforced? – Research Professional News

“One lesson is that the declaration’s authors did not consider redundancy as a possible outcome of research assessment, focusing instead on hiring, promotion and funding decisions. However, in my view, redundancy processes should not be delegated to crude metrics and should be informed by the principles of Dora. 

That said, it is not Dora’s job as an organisation to intervene in the gritty particulars of industrial disputes. Nor can we arbitrate in every dispute about research assessment practices within signatory organisations. …

Recently, we have re-emphasised that university signatories must make it clear to their academic staff what signing Dora means. Organisations should demonstrate their commitment to Dora’s principles to their communities, not seek accreditation from us. In doing so, they empower their staff to challenge departures from the spirit of the declaration. Grant conditions introduced by signatory funders such as the Wellcome Trust and Research England buttress this approach. 

Dora’s approach to community engagement taps into the demand for research assessment reform while acknowledging the lack of consensus on how best to go about it. The necessary reforms are complex, intersecting with the culture change needed to make the academy more open and inclusive. They also have to overcome barriers thrown up by academics comfortable with the status quo and the increasing marketisation of higher education. In such a complex landscape, Dora has no wish to be prescriptive. Rather, we need to help institutions find their own way, which will sometimes mean allowing room for course corrections….”