University of Edinburgh Open Access update: Jan 2014

To restart the Open Scholarship blog for 2014 we are publishing a monthly series of posts detailing the open access activity that the Scholarly Communications Team is helping to facilitate within the University.

At the end of January there were approximately 73,800 records in the University’s Current Research Information System (PURE), of which 14,200 have open access documents available to the general public via the Edinburgh Research Explorer. This is a figure of 19% open access. In addition there are around 600 records with documents waiting for validation – this process involves checking that the document versions that are deposited are compatible with both journal copyright permissions and research funders requirements.

Looking specifically at journal articles and conference proceedings:

All time Open access % 2008 onwards Open access %
Medicine & Veterinary Medicine 5497 29 3694 38
Humanities & Social Science 2455 18 2072 29
Science & Engineering 5772 20 3883 28

Applications to the RCUK open access fund are steady following the soft launch in July. To date there have been 120 applications. Here are the monthly figures for the previous quarter:

Month Applications to RCUK Applications to Wellcome
October 2013 23
November 2013 27 20
December 2013 19 9
January 2014 31 13

Status of the RCUK fund – currently there is £519,558 left in the fund, with an additional £47,000 committed on articles submitted for publication. Altogether the fund is at 62%.

Status of the Wellcome Trust fund – since the start of the new reporting period (November 2013) the open access spend has been £76,536.

Since the last meeting the Scholarly Communications Team have carried out twelve outreach events, including holding lunchtime seminars for the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine at Little France, Teviot and the Western General, and attending departmental away days and briefing sessions for the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. The team are now working to identify opportunities to engage with the College of Science & Engineering.

2 thoughts on “University of Edinburgh Open Access update: Jan 2014

  1. I can’t believe how much money you are giving to publishers, to pay them to publish the content that you give them for free. How many PhD students could be handsomely funded for the money you are donating to multinational corporations? How much useful research could be done with this money? You are taking public money and lining Elsevier’s pockets with it. If all of you refused to pay these fees, then they would not be viable and would disappear. You should be so ashamed of yourselves for accepting, and thus encouraging, this rubbish from these publishers.

    • Thanks for the comment – you raise a really interesting and legitimate point. The cost of gold open access article fees for hybrid journals is a lot higher than ‘pure’ open access journals. It is something we have pointed out (here for example – and are really quite concerned about. This is one of the reasons why green open access (deposit in a repository) is the University’s preferred way to achieve open access and we try to get as many authors to choose this option as possible. It is the academic author’s choice how and where they choose to publish – our job as the Library is to help authors understand what their options are and try to guide them to choose the publishing option that suits their individual circumstances. As far as we are concerned Green is the best option but sometimes authors have to choose Gold.

      It is the RCUK open access policy that is driving forwards the agenda here and authors have to comply with their research funders wishes otherwise they compromise future grant awards. We are publishing all our data to be more transparent and to let people like yourselves know how much money is being spent so the issue can be publicly raised with Funding Councils and progress made towards a more rational business model. We urge all universities to publish their data on open access spending (I note that your University receives and spends more money on open access publishing but doesn’t publish the details).

      To not engage with and reject out of hand the various Research Councils open access policies is not an option any University can accept as it will jeopardise research careers, funding and status. The momentum for change must come from researchers themselves – after all they make up the structure, and set the direction of the research councils strategy. A more productive way to engage with this issue is to contact the research councils directly and let them know what you think.

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