The Finch Report and RCUK Open Access policy: How can libraries respond?

11/10/2012 – 8:29 am
Tony McCall

Libraries have always been advocates of Open Access (OA), providing repository services to collect, share and preserve open access versions of research papers. The Finch Report and the new RCUK OA policy mark a transformation to the way in which research is published and made available in the UK. Making government funded research free at the point of access will inevitably affect the way in which institutional repositories such as LSE Research Online (disclosure – I manage this service) develop in the future. However, it is now more than ever that academic libraries must continue to advance services which support open access to research during what was recently dubbed the ‘biggest change for four centuries in the way that the public gets to read academic research’. Libraries must provide services, whether that be repository infrastructures or OA support, to ensure research and underlying materials are widely disseminated and meet funder requirements.

Authors are now faced with growing requirements to make publicly funded research OA. Gold OA is strongly recommended by RCUK, involving the payment of article processing charges (APCs), yet the policy allows both Green and Gold OA routes as clarified in a recent RCUK blog post. There will consequently be a mixed Green and Gold economy as policy changes are adopted and journals establish various modes of compliance. During this time, libraries must promote existing OA knowledge and provide advice on identifying compliant journals and interpreting embargo procedures depending on specific funding bodies. For authors going down the Green route (i.e. making a post-print version of their paper, including changes made after peer-review, available in a repository within a certain timeframe) libraries must continue to provide repository services to collect, share and preserve outputs. Repositories will also serve as platforms through which to enable text and data mining, a key driver of the CC-BY licence requirement. During this transition period, with both Green and Gold OA in use and with authors faced with various publishing routes and requirements, it is important that libraries continue to enable authors to fulfil research council policies and disseminate their work as widely as possible.

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author: Natalia Madjarevic
source: The London School of Economics and Political Science (10/10/12)

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