Planning for Open Access in REF2020 – Some Thoughts

I’ve been back in the office a couple of days since Friday’s excellent workshop on implementing HEFCE’s policy and have finally had time to look at my notes and gather my thoughts.  A number of good points were raised on the day, some of which I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post.  Today I would like to think more specifically about what I would like to do here at the University of Edinburgh, to help prepare us for April 2016:

Firstly, it is clear that we need a detailed plan.  I’m happy to start writing this up, but it will need plenty of input from other stakeholders within the University.  The plan will need to identify a number of milestones and identify the pathway to achieving our goal of 100% of research publications being eligible for inclusion in the next REF.  We need to think of this whole exercise as a project deliver it as such.  We need to plan the work and then work the plan.

We will need to think carefully about the support needed to deliver the implementation of these requirements, and what the implications will be for staffing.  We know from our experience with the University of Edinburgh’s Open Access Implementation Project that providing adequate administrative support (even at a junior level) can make a world of difference to the number of research publications added to a repository.

Marketing will be key.  We are currently working on a design for a website which is aimed at delivering a simple message to academics regarding the new requirements and what they will need to do to ensure their work is eligible for inclusion in the REF.  We plan to highlight that the task is an easy one (upload takes a couple of minutes) but that it is essential to make the upload at the right time and not put it off until later.  Once the design is finalised, we are considering a campaign to send postcards all academics detailing the new policy and directing them to the new website.  We hope to licence the text and design as CC-BY as part of the LOCH project to enable other universities to replicate it.

The Scholarly Communications Team is in the process of planning an advocacy campaign for the next two semesters and will aim to contact all Schools over the course of this academic year.  We will write more about our experiences as these meetings take place.

Dominic Tate, University of Edinburgh