RCUK & EC Didn’t Follow Finch/Willets, They Rejected it, Promptly and Prominently

Irony of ironies, that it should now appear (to some who are not paying attention) as if the RCUK & EC were following the recommendations of Finch/Willets when in point of fact they are pointedly rejecting them!

RCUK and EC were already leading the world in providing and mandating Green OA.

Finch/Willets, under the influence of the publisher lobby, have recommended abandoning cost-free Green OA and instead spending scarce research money on paying publishers extra for Gold OA.

Both RCUK & EC immediately announced that, no, they would stay the course in which they were already leading — mandatory Green OA. (They even shored it up, shortening the maximum allowable embargo period, again directly contrary to Finch/Willets!)

What Finch/Willets have mandated is that £50,000,000 of the UK’s scarce research budget be taken away annually from UK research and redirected instead to paying publishers for Gold OA.

The UK government is free to squander its public funds as it sees fit.

But as long as cost-free Green OA mandates remain in effect, that’s just a waste of money, not of progress in the global growth in OA.

(A lot of hard, unsung work had to be done, by many, many people, to fend off the concerted efforts of the publishing industry lobby — so brilliantly successful in duping Finch/Willets — in the effort to dupe the RCUK and EC in much the same way. The publishing industry’s lobbying efforts have failed with RCUK and the EC; instead, the global research community’s self-help efforts to protect the interests of publicly funded research have triumphed. And the publishing lobby will now fail once again, with the US. And the UK has once again re-affirmed its leadership in the worldwide OA movement — despite Finch/Willets, not because of it.)

Stevan Harnad