Event report: RCUK Open Access – Scottish Collaboration & Planning Meeting

On December 7th 2012 a meeting was held at the University of Edinburgh to discuss the implications of the forthcoming RCUK Open Access policy and to share details of the differing institutional approaches to the BIS allocation plans. This event was convened and chaired by John MacColl of St Andrews, and sponsored by the JISC-funded Scottish Open Scholarship (SOS) project. The event was attended by representatives from the six main Scottish institutions in receipt of these funds.

It was agreed to run the meeting using the Chatham House Rule (information gathered during the meeting may be shared, but it should not be attributed to the individual or institution). The key messages from the meeting were as follows:

Key points from the BIS allocation plans are:

  1. Library to manage the funds (all six, one first year only – then distributed to faculties).
  2. Plan to use the BIS money as a true ‘pilot’ to prepare for the block grants (four of six).
  3. Setting up an institutional fund (all new, no existing – other than Wellcome Trust funds).
  4. Subsuming OA membership schemes – eg  BioMed Central (two out of six, but most likely will) (RP reminded us of the need to remember a possible SHEDL role here; JISC Collections may be working with OAK for OA payment).
  5. APC payment decision-making processes needed (four of six).
  6. Intention to use funds to pay for retrospective Gold (four of six).
  7. Intention to use funds to pay for retrospective Green (two of six, but many do this already).
  8. Intention to fund senior level posts (one of six).
  9. Intention to fund mid-range level posts (two of six).
  10. Archive all Gold items locally (only in one plan, but most likely to do).
  11. Advice to academic community on OA publishing options (four of six).
  12. Intention to build in Research Data Management requirements (three of six).
  13. Part of funding to go towards IR and CRIS technical development (two of six).
  14. Advocacy, as a costed activity (four of six).
  15. Analysis to guide future expenditure, including ‘the missing 20%’ (four of six).

Arguments in favour of Green OA:

  1. ‘The missing 20%’ strengthens the argument for Green and for cost-sharing collaboration.
  2. Signals from at least part of the US academy that they will not follow suit (eg the American Educational Research Association’s rejection of Finch/RCUK in the Times Higher Education, 6 December (‘Finch access plan unlikely to fly across the Atlantic’)).
  3. The anticipated market failure of APCs (excessively high APC charges already being considered by some very high-impact journals, such as Science and Nature).
  4. The particularly high financial impact on net creators – large research intensives – rather than net consumers.

What could Scotland achieve?

  1. Work with SHEDL over prospective APC payments at the time of negotiating collective e-journal deals.
  2. Establish an information service for libraries and academic authors to deliver the following as an initial set of possible services (this service might be set up fairly quickly within Scotland, but be capable of expansion across the rest of the UK in due course).
  3. Develop a model or template OA institutional policy by analysing all available policies provided by institutions.
  4. Develop a model Institutional Open Access Fund Mechanism, based on a distillation of existing institutional models and thinking. To permit most equitable distribution of monies; representation of potentially excluded authors (eg in certain humanities sub-fields; Early Career Researchers); principles for sharing APC costs between the OA fund and academic departments; bidding processes; workflows and management of the Mechanism.
  5. Develop a guidance document for academic authors on best practice, encouraging copyright retention and ‘Responsible Gold’ behaviour (see below).
  6. Shared metrics on compliance rates for RCUK-funded outputs.
  7. Shared metrics on Gold, Green and other OA publications per institution.
  8. Feed information into UK-wide services as appropriate.

What could the UK achieve?

  1. Consider setting up a collaborative ‘Green Mirror’ repository of publisher-provided articles available to universities on the basis of Gold APC payments. Consider the possibilities of this repository acting as an academy-owned archive which could represent the preferred corpus to support research data links, text- and data-mining applications, and preservation copies of UK-authored articles.
  2. Encourage the use of this repository by libraries and academic authors as ‘Responsible Gold’ behaviour.
  3. Expand SHERPA/RoMEO to include information on APCs; also to include trends data on publisher APC pricing and embargo policies.
  4. Work with JISC Collections to secure best pricing on retrospective APC payments.
  5. Develop and maintain best-practice OA-supportive CRIS systems models at a generic level (ie across Atira Pure, Symplectic Elements and Avedas Converis). Include support for ORCID.
  6. Discuss areas of copyright and licensing confusion with RLUK and RCUK, and in particular:
  • CC-BY: what are the commercial possibilities that should be allowed?
  • Would CC-BY-NC satisfy our major requirements for a Green mirror archive?

Immediate steps:

  1. Establish a Scottish Open Access Management email distribution group.
  2. Inform JISC Collections that the six Scottish institutions are interested in participation in a collaborative deal on Gold APC pricing.
  3. Build APC requirements as a standard requirement into new and renegotiated SHEDL deals.
  4. Share this report with RLUK and SCONUL colleagues to encourage collaborative action on the UK-wide points.

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