UCL has set up a Publications Board that will implement an open access policy ensuring that, subject to copyright permissions, all UCL research is placed online and is freely accessible.
The move places UCL at the forefront of academic institutions pioneering the move to open access. The university has already given all its PhD students the option of making their theses available in its online repository, and in academic departments across UCL there is already a broad take-up. The records of the whole of UCL’s 2008 Research Assessment Exercise return have been uploaded, with links added to the relevant version of the full text where copyright permissions allow.
The creation of the UCL Publications Board extends this situation to the whole of UCL’s published research output. The board will oversee the rollout of the open access mandate, and promote it as a medium for the dissemination of research.
The principles of open access are based on the Berlin Declaration, which urges authors to retain the rights in the materials they produce and to place a copy in an open medium – in UCL’s case the university’s electronic repository – so that they are available free at point of use to anyone, anywhere in the world, with an Internet connection.
“In the competitive environment of a global higher education market, open access repositories provide a platform on which a university can showcase its research,” said Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services. “Open access helps prospective students make a judgement on which university to choose, shares blue-skies research with the widest possible audience, and supports outreach activity to open up higher education to new communities.”
At a time when library budgets are under enormous pressure, open access also a means of ensuring that subscriptions do not become a barrier to use.