Open Access News

Progress in Moving to the Open Access Model

Moving journals from the traditional subscription model to an open access model involves many stakeholders and a range of changes in academic workflow, culture and finance as openness become more integral to good research. Part of the role of the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group is to monitor these changes and to find common ground between stakeholders where needed. Their Monitoring the Transition to Open Access report, first published in 2015, has now been updated. The new 2017 Monitoring Transition to Open Access Report (launched on 5 Dec) indicates that the UK continues to make good progress against the target set by the UK Government to be publishing almost all scientific output by open access by 2020. However the costs of open access appear to be rising, not only because of increasing numbers of OA papers but also because of inflation in charges. Common sets of expectations and responsibilities for all stakeholders in the OA process need to be agreed to try to prevent this trends in APC charges continuing. (Source: Universities UK Blog) (5 Dec)

Better Metadata for Open Access Discovery

Indications provided to identify specific articles in a journal issue as being available through Open Access are not always entirely clear, either for people or for harvesting in machine-readable formats.  This can lead to potential readers being unaware that a particular paper is openly available to them, especially when using automated discovery systems, and can reduce the paper's visibility and hence its citation capacity. The NISO Recommended Practice on Access and License Indicators (ALI) (NISO RP-22-2015) is intended to address these issues by providing consistent article-level descriptors for publishers to use. Reaction to these have been extremely positive, such that the ALI tages have been incorporated into the ANSI/NISO Journal Article Tag Suite. Further development of tags will be considered by the NISO Information Discovery and Interchange Topic Committee. (Source: UKSG E-News, 20 Oct)

ORCID Researcher Identifier System Launches New Training Resources

The ORCID researcher identifier system has celebrated its 5th anniversary by launching a new range of education, outreach and customisation tools, including new Help and Registration pages, a Members Support Centre, new Knowledge Base articles and a Vimeo channel with video instructions. Training materials on the ORCID Members Site are all issued under a CC0 open access license and are free to re-use. (16 Oct)

Open Access Groups Action on Proposed Copyright Reforms

A coalition of Open Access and Open Science groups, including SPARC, COAR, Creative Commons, the European Universities Association, IFLA, Research Libraries UK and Science Europe, have addressed an open letter to the EU's Legal Affairs Committee urging the removal of some proposals in the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, particularly regarding Articles 3, 11 and 13. The group states that Article 11 would restrict the long-practised usage of titles, headlines and news fragments to freely link to academic publications and data, whilst the provisions of Article 13 are said to raise the requirement for open access repositories to have to introduce filtering technology to manage the risks of intermediate liability.  For Article 3, the letter says that the potential for the general granting of open text and data mining rights for academic works to be overridden by contract terms should be removed. (5 Sept)

EUA Recommendations for Achieving the Transition to Open Access by 2020

In a new report, "Towards Full Open Access in 2020: Aims and Recommendations for University Leaders", the European University Association calls for an open scholarly communication system grounded in the peer review process, with authors and their institutions maintaining the ownership rights over both research outcomes and the selection of re-use licences (e.g. CC-BY). The report also calls for the development of an equitable cost-benefit ratio for both research institutions and publishers in organising "big deals" for publishers journal outputs.  Recommendations on developing openness for both research papers and data management were guided by the work of the Expert Group on Science 2.0 / Open Science.  Source: EUA Press Release (29 June)

Knowledge Exhange Report on European Authors Views on APC Payments for Gold Open Access

Knowledge Exchange has published a survey of over a thousand European research authors on "Paying for Open Access", covering decisions made to publish in either totally Open Access or hybrid OA journals in 2015. Open access features played an important part in author's journal selection process in around a third of cases.  Where the OA nature of the journal was not a primary feature in decision making, the fit between the individual paper and the particular journal was the main factor in selection. Both practical and ideological reasons were cited as the original resaons for selecting a particular title, including greater exposure, wider audience and more open re-use options.  Funder requirements played a major role on OA decisions in the UK but not in other countries. Where authors were responsible for paying charges out of their own budgets, the proportion of OA papers published in hybrid journals was less than 5%. (27 June)

Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC)

A group of around 30 publishers have committed to promote the open availability of citation data - the Initiative for Open Citations (IO4C). independent of the availability of the research papers themselves.  The data will be made availble in common, machine-readable formats and will be openly reusable. The aim is to establish a global web of linked scholarly citation data and enhance the overall discoverability of published content, particularly for thiose who are not members of academic institutions. Eventually, the founders are looking to establish an "open citation graph" to explore the connections between citation and the evolution of ideas  and new scholarly disciplines. (22 June)

Paywall Watch

The Paywall Watch website has been set up to monitor open access and other notable problems on academic publishers websites, aiming to enable authors, funders, subscribers and institutions to make better choices when choosing destinations for their scholarly research outputs. Specific types of events with which Paywall Watch will be concerned are paywalled open access articles, CopyWrong papers wbere publishers are claimming copyrights which they do not hold, loss of supplementary data and missing content. (20 June)

LEARN Toolkit of Best Practice for Research Data Management

The EU-funded LEARN Toolkit for Best Practice for Research Data Management has following up from the LERU Roadmap project to identify the actions needed to embed the principles of the LERU Roadmap into standared procedures for research institutions.  The toolkit has sections on RDM policy, advocacy guidance, research data infrastructure, costing models, software development and, very importantly, a section of training, roles and responsibilities for RDM and the energing role of the data scientist.  The toolkit then finishes with a Model RDM Policy and an Executive Briefing in six languages. (3 June)

EC "Open to the World" Report

The EC High-Level Expert Group on Research, Innovation and Science Policy (RISE) launched its "Europe's Future: Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World" report on 15 May. The report indicates that a shift towards open science and open innovation would substantially enhance the economic and social impact of publically-funded research. It also stresses the roles which citizen science and openness could play in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals and strengthening the concept of the "information commons" at both global and local levels.

EC Open Science Monitor

The EC's Open Science Monitor, developed by RAND Europe working together with Deloitte, Digital Science & Research Solutions, and Figshare, traces the progress of open scholarly communication through all stages of the research life cycle - including collaboration in projects, accessibility of outputs and transparency/reproducibility of research methods and procedures.  Specific indicators which can be accessed in the initial release include percentage figures for open peer review, journal policies on open peer review, researchers attitudes to open research data, research funders requirements for open research data, mentions of research in traditional and social media outlets, and availability of preprints.  There are also a number of case studies on the website descibing the procedures used by specific open science projects. (20 April)

Unpaywall Widget Finds Valid Open Access Versions of Papers

The Unpaywall widget, which can be installed on either Chrome or Firefox, trawls the internet using the oaDOI API, looking for free, open access copies of research papers in over 5,000 repositories and preprint servers worldwide.  When a paywalled paper is encountered, Unpaywall shows either a green tab or a grey tab at the side of the screen according to whether a legally-accessible open access version of the paper is available within its collections. The algorithm behind the oaDOI widget includes a title comparison feature which tolerates small spacing and punctuation differences to try to deal with small changes in titles occurring as part of the editorial process. (4 April)

Gates Foundation to Establish Open Access Platform

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is to establish an open access publishing platform "Gates Open Research"to allow its funded researchers to publish their research results and accompanying data on an open access website.  Deposit of papers and data will begin in Autumn 2017. The Gates Foundation's two-year transition period which allowed researchers to embargo publishing their Gates Foundation-derived research results for 12 months before making them available by open access platform has now expired.  From January 2017, the Foundation requires all grant recipients to publish their research and raw data in an open access journal with no embargo. The new Gates Foundation open access platform, which will be provided by Faculty of 1000 (F1000) who have already designed a similar site for the Wellcome Trust, will enable this condition to be fulfilled more easily. (23 March)

DG Research and Innovation Expert Group on Altmetrics Report

The EC Directorate Research and Innovation's Expert Group on Altmetrics was set up to consider how to advance Article-Level publication metrics (altmetrics) in the context of the open research agenda, to review different altmetrics measures in relation to more established methods of measuring research output, how to remove the current barriers to open research/open science and to recommend infrastructures to help embed open research in academic culture. Their report "Next-Generation Metrics: Responsible metrics and Evaluation for Open Science" recommends that the EC should provide clear guidelines for the responsible use of metrics to support open research in the next Research Framework programme (FP9), that research should be undertaken on the potential for gaming any new altmetrics proposed for FP9 before their introduction, that the implemetation of open research principles in FP9 should be accompanied by appropriate reward mechanisms, that the vision for the European Open Science Cloud should adopt ORCID as its standard researcher identifier, and that the open research agenda should be taken forward in the EU by a European Forum for Next-Generation Metrics, working with the European Open Science Policy Platform.  (20 March)

Indication of Future Requirements for Open Access Books in Third REF (2028)

In a post written by Martin Paul Eve, Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck on the HEFCE website, the possibility is raised that HEFCE's open access deposit policy for eligibility of REF outputs is likely to apply to books as well as articles in the third REF exercise due to take place in the late 2020's. Despite the success of a range of consortial open accecss book publishing projects such as Knowledge Unlatched and the launch of a number of dedicated open access book publishers, such as Open Humanities Press and Punctum Books, this will still likely to pose an enormous economic challenge as few institutions can afford to raise the current rates of up to £11k per item currently levied by OA e-book publishers.  Some lateral thinking to devise new cooperative models of open access book publishing, and expanding the range of self-publshing by university presses, may be required - while still retaining rigorous editorial standards. (1 Mar)

Max Planck Gesellschaft OA2020 Roadmap

The OA2020 Roadmap, prepared by the Max Planck Digital Library in Germany, based upon the OA2020 Expression of Interest, is an international initiative for the large-scale transition of all stakeholder systems in the academic publiction process to an open access framework.  It aims to transform (flip) the majority of today's scholarly journals away from the subscription access model by reorganising current underlying publication cash flows into new transparent OA business systems which avoid any undue publication barriers.  The mission statement for the project invites universities, institutes, research funders, libraries and publishers to come together internationally to bring about a swift transition to open access for the benefit of scholarship and society at large. To achieve these aims, practical work for the OA2020 Roadmap is organised into 5 core areas of activity: advocacy and commitment, analysis of academic publishing outputs and cost distributions, transformation of payment streams, negotiation of new publisher-academic relation models, and the building of collaborative exchange of experience. (6 Feb)