03 Nov 2010   |   News

Ten UK organisations join forces on Open Access

Ten leading organisations from the UK higher education and research sector have joined forces to push for Open Access to research papers.

Ten leading organisations from the UK higher education and research sector have joined forces to push for Open Access to research papers.

The UK Open Access Implementation Group says it will promote openness and transparency in the public sector and in universities, to make research papers, educational resources and data more widely available, a move they say will increase the impact of publicly funded research.

While the adoption of Open Access is growing, some researchers and institutions still worry that it amounts to a “Robin Hood” approach that gives away research freely. The evidence, however, shows that opening up access to research outputs provides substantial gains, according to the Group.

At present the Group consists of senior representatives of Edinburgh and Salford universities, Universities UK, Research Libraries UK, the Society of College, National and University Libraries, Joint Information Systems Committee, the UK Research Councils, Wellcome Trust, the Association of Research Managers and Administrators UK, and a leading open access publisher, the Public Library of Science.

It intends to produce evidence, policies, systems and advice to make open access an easy choice for authors, and one that benefits all universities. The group have asked the higher education information technology body, the Joint Information Systems Committee to map out a programme of practical work.

The Open Access Implementation Group held its first meeting last week at the Wellcome Trust, under the chairmanship of Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor of Salford University. It was agreed existing evidence and guidance on Open Access should be brought together.

The group noted that the ways in which research excellence and impact are measured play a key role in influencing behaviour. Where necessary, for example around the practical arrangements for paying open access publication charges, further work should be done to clarify what is possible at the moment and where further provision might be needed.

The group were united in their support for innovation and will encourage debate in the sector around new publication models. “If we don’t collaborate across publicly or semi-publicly funded institutions and if we don’t take hold of the agenda as a sector then we will be pushed into an environment where we increasingly compete for diminishing resources,” Hall said. “The UK has consistently led the way in opening access to research. A UK alliance is now established at the highest level to ensure that we don't lose that lead, and that the impact of UK research and therefore the contribution of UK universities to the economy and society is maximised.”

For more about Open Access, visit: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/openaccess

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