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UK Government To Mandate Open Access By 2014

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Monday July 16, 2012
The UK government is set to announce that all research funded by the government will be mandated as open access by 2014, ensuring that all taxpayer funded research will be freely available to anyone anywhere in the world.
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Stevan Harnad said:

Despite Finch Report, RCUK Stands Firm on Mandating Green Open Access
Despite the recommendation by the Finch Committee and UK Science and Universities Minister David Willets (under heavy influence from the publisher lobby) to downgrade repository use to the storage and preservation of data, theses and unpublished work, the UK research funding councils, RCUK, have re-confirmed their policy of mandatory author self-archiving in Green OA repositories:

“The new policy, which will apply to all qualifying publications being submitted for publication from 1 April 2013, states that peer reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils… must be published in journals which are compliant with Research Council policy on Open Access.

“Criteria which journals must fulfill to be compliant with the Research Councils’ Open Access policy are detailed within the policy, but include offering a “pay to publish” option or allowing deposit in a subject or institutional repository after a mandated maximum embargo period…”
This is eight years almost to the day in 2004 when the UK Parliamentary Select Committee made its revolutionary recommendation to mandate Green OA:
“This Report recommends that all UK higher education institutions establish institutional repositories on which their published output can be stored and from which it can be read, free of charge, online. It also recommends that Research Councils and other Government funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all of their articles in this way.”

At that time, despite the fact that the UK government (under pressure from the publishing lobby) decided to ignore the Select Committee’s recommendation to mandate Green OA, RCUK and many UK universities adopted Green OA mandates anyway. As a result, the UK became the global leader in the tranistion to Open Access.

If heeded, the Finch Committee recommendation to downgrade repository use to the storage and preservation of data, theses and unpublished work would have set back global OA by at least a decade.

Fortunately, the RCUK is again showing its sense and independence. Let us hope UK’s universities — not pleased that scarce research funds, instead of being increased, are to be decreased to pay extra needlessly for Gold OA — will likewise continue to opt instead for cost-free Green OA by mandating it.

If so, the UK will again have earned and re-affirmed its leadership role in the global transition to universal OA.
July 17, 2012

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