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Getting Somewhere: HEFCE Proposals on Open Access for a Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework

Getting Somewhere: HEFCE Proposals on Open Access for a Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"This week, the UK’s Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published their formal proposals for including an open access requirement in any post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Responses to this will be accepted until 30th October 2013. These proposals follow a pre-consultation letter and set of responses which were submitted earlier in the year (link to University of Cambridge response).

Following up our concerns about the policy raised over the last few months (here and here, further posts here) the present iteration represents a decent outcome on some of the details, not least because it defers quite a few of them. That these issues have been deferred does not mean that they do not matter; rather it means that the battles on them will be fought elsewhere – with universities, with journal boards, with learned societies, with publishers and their lawyers and so on. Moreover, there is no cause for complacency around the broader political economy of scholarly publishing, which remains wasteful, restrictive and inequitable on many fronts. And of course, the pernicious REF exercise itself, which this government signalled it would review, must be itself vigorously contested (more on this to come)."

 

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Open access mandate narrowed in formal proposals

Open access mandate narrowed in formal proposals | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Initial proposals published in February envisaged requiring a certain proportion of submitted monographs to be open access. However, among the 260 respondents to an informal consultation on the plans there was “widespread concern about the extent to which open access is reasonably achievable” for monographs.

For that reason, monographs will now be exempt from the mandate. However, the funding councils’ formal proposals, published for consultation on July 24, make clear the exemption will only be temporary “in view of our expectation that open access publication for monographs and books is likely to be achievable in the long term”.

The “overwhelming majority” of respondents to the informal consultation agreed that it is not currently feasible to require data sets to be open access. Hence, the first open access REF mandate will apply only to journal articles and conference proceedings whose authors include UK-based academics."

 

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Green OA Embargoes: Just a Publisher Tactic for Delaying the Optimal and Inevitable - Open Access Archivangelism

Green OA Embargoes: Just a Publisher Tactic for Delaying the Optimal and Inevitable - Open Access Archivangelism | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Bravo to Danny Kingsley for her invaluable antipodean OA advocacy!

I think Danny is spot-on in all the points she makes, so these are just a few supplementary remarks:

1. The publishing industry is using Green OA embargoes and lobbying to try to hold OA hostage to its current inflated revenue streams as long as possible-- by forcing the research community to pay for over-priced, double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid) Fools Gold if it wants to have OA at all.

It's time for the research community to stop stating that it will stop mandating and providing Green OA if there's ever any evidence that it will cause subscription cancelations. Of course Green OA will cause cancelations, eventually; and so it should.

Green OA will not only provide 100% OA but it will also force publishers to phase out obsolete products and services and their costs, by offloading all access-provision and archiving onto the worldwide nework of Green OA repositories.

Once subscriptions are made unsustainable by mandatory Green OA, journals will downsize and convert to post-Green Fair-Gold, in place of today's over-priced, double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid) Fools-Gold."

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Does mandatory policy help Open Access? | Open Science

Does mandatory policy help Open Access? | Open Science | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"How to disseminate Open Access? How to convince scholars, universities and research institutions that OA may help in the development of science? These questions are a never-ending topic of discussion in the scientific community. There are also many answers to these questions, and one of them is a mandatory OA policy for scientists, established by a government or university. However, the question is: does it really work?

The mandatory policy for OA has its supporters and opponents and this division can be observed pretty well during the discussions on the new regulations in the UK. The opponents may say that new rules favor one type of OA and marginalize the other (Gold vs. Green), that the objectivity and freedom of scientific research may be compromised, that freedom of choice is being limited, or that those who control funding will have undue influence on what is being published and where.

Many of these arguments may, or indeed touch upon the real threats that may arise with the introduction of top-down rules for OA. Unfortunately, there is always a shortage of funds for science, research and publishing. Each institution introducing rules concerning OA, whether it is a university or government, will take into account the financial factor and try to choose the best compromise. Of course, you can always argue whether the solution actually supports OA and scientists or not."

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Open access: brought to book at last?

Open access: brought to book at last? | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"A library-focused effort aims to take monographs off the analogue shelf. 

It would be easy to think of monographs as the scholarly output that the open-access movement forgot.

Mandates for free online access are popping up all around the world, but most relate exclusively to journal articles. A good example is Research Councils UK’s new open-access policy, launched in April and inspired by the Finch report published last year. That report dismissed monographs as too difficult a nut to crack in the absence of “further experimentation”.

The UK funding councils were slightly bolder. Their preliminary consultation on introducing an open-access mandate for the next research excellence framework, expected in 2020, included a question about whether a percentage of submitted monographs should be required to be open access."

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Open-access platform Libre launched

Open-access platform Libre launched | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Three academics are to launch a new open-access platform that they hope will allow researchers to wrest control of peer review from journals and remove academic publishers’ justification for charging high prices for their titles.

The Libre platform, due to be launched in October, will host open reviews of manuscripts solicited by the authors themselves. The authors will also be encouraged to continually update their manuscripts in the light of the ongoing comments.

Pandelis Perakakis, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Castellón in Spain and co-founder of Open Scholar, the UK-registered non-profit company that will run Libre, said that journals used their present “monopoly” on administering peer review to justify excessively high prices – even though the current model of peer review was flawed by conflicts of interest."

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We cannot afford to keep research results locked away in ivory towers

We cannot afford to keep research results locked away in ivory towers | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Opening up British research may seem obvious, writes science minister David Willetts. But it is not just inertia that blocks this. The UK government is committed to greater transparency across the board. That is partly because, as David Cameron says, sunlight is the best disinfectant. There are other reasons for more transparency too, such as giving people the tools to fulfil their aspirations. Choosing the wrong course can be an expensive and dispiriting error. So we have published 17 pieces of comparable information on each university course. People from families with little history of higher education no longer have to fill in their UCAS forms in the dark."

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Chris Wickham considers open access in the UK and international environment

Chris Wickham considers open access in the UK and international environment | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"In his chapter for Debating Open Access, a new publication from the British Academy, Chris Wickham considers the view from Humanities and Social Science both from the UK and international environment. Since HSS disciplines receive only a small percentage of RCUK funds, HEFCE’s policy on the admissibility of work for future REFs will be the most important determining factor. Other countries do not have RAE/REF equivalents to drive them down the Gold route; hence they are more likely to stay with Green and with longer embargo periods. Some leading international journals, particularly in the Humanities, have set their face against Gold OA and the introduction of APCs. UK scholars in HSS thus face a dilemma. If they publish in noncompliant international journals their work risks being ineligible for future REFs; if they don’t publish in these venues they risk falling off the international pace. A particularly intense variant of this dilemma threatens those whose professional community does not operate in English. Future REF criteria will need to reflect these discipline-specific circumstances."

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NIH sees surge in open-access manuscripts : Nature News Blog

NIH sees surge in open-access manuscripts : Nature News Blog | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"In May, authors approved more than 10,000 peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH-funded research to go into the agency’s online free repository, PubMed Central. That’s a huge jump from the average 5,100 per month in 2011–12, and suggests the agency is nearing its goal of getting everyone it funds to make their papers publicly available. (Numbers available in csv format; the NIH also publishes them, so far without the May update, here)."

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Open practices make for strange bed fellows - Research Blogs

"Open approaches are now familiar in all aspects of our daily lives. With governments spearheading initiatives to make the information they hold available to all and developments such as open source software now changing the way we work, communicate and play.

Open policies are already widely in use in the academic world and all the indicators show that this is an unstoppable trend. For future Research Excellence Framework exercises, the Higher Education Funding Council for England is proposing to adopt an ‘open by default’ policy that will require all research papers to be open access and to be deposited in institutional repositories. And it is expected that the EU’s next big funding round – Horizon 2020 – will embrace open culture and practices, including by requiring high levels of openness from all those who apply for funds, as well as funding a data sharing pilot."

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OASPA’s response to Request for Input – Finch Report: Survey of Progress, 14 June 2013 | Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

"Background

We thank you for the opportunity to provide input to the Finch Report: Survey of Progress.

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) represents the interests of Open Access publishers of journals and books, with the aim of expanding Open Access publishing while contributing to the development of standards and best practices in all areas of scholarly publishing. OASPA’s membership currently includes more than 60 full voting members, who range from independent OA journals that are run by small groups of researchers to many of the largest and most well-recognised publishers within the scholarly publishing industry."

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RCUK OA Policy | PLOS

RCUK OA Policy | PLOS | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"As of 1st April 2013, if your research is funded by one of the seven Research Councils of the RCUK, you are required to make sure that any article you publish is freely accessible online to everyone, everywhere with a license that permits copying, distribution, and reuse.This new policy from RCUK is designed to help make publicly funded research easily available to all who might benefit from it"

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Implementing Open Access in the United Kingdom - Information Services and Use - Volume 33, Number 1 / 2013 - IOS Press

Implementing Open Access in the United Kingdom - Information Services and Use - Volume 33, Number 1 / 2013 - IOS Press | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Since July 2012, the UK has been undergoing an organized transition to open access. As of 01 April 2013, revised open access policies are coming into effect. Open access implementation requires new infrastructures for funding publishing. Universities as institutions increasingly will be central to managing article-processing charges, monitoring compliance and organizing deposit. This article reviews the implementation praxis between July 2012 and April 2013, including ongoing controversy and review, which has mainly focussed on embargo length."

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Open and Shut?: Dominique Babini on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?

Open and Shut?: Dominique Babini on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done? | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"This is the ninth Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access (OA). On this occasion the questions are answered by Dominique Babini, Open Access Advocacy leader at the Latin American Council on Social Sciences (CLACSO). Based in Argentina, CLACSO is an academic network of 345 social science institutions, mainly in the universities of 21 of the region’s countries.

 In inviting people to take part in this Q&A series I have been conscious that much of the discussion about Open Access still tends to be dominated by those based in the developed world; or at least developing world voices are often drowned out by the excitable babble of agreement, disagreement, and frequent stalemate, that characterises the Open Access debate.  It has therefore never been entirely clear to me how stakeholders in the developing world view OA, and whether their views differ greatly from those that have dominated the OA conversation since it began in around 1994. In the hope of gaining a better understanding I plan to invite a number of people based in the developing world to take part in this series.  To start the ball rolling I am today publishing a Q&A with Dominique Babini, who is based at the University of Buenos Aires. Readers will judge for themselves how, and to what extent, Babini’s views differ from those we hear so often from those based in, say, North America or Europe."
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2013-Open access consultation launched - HEFCE

"Views are invited on the open access proposals for the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The four UK higher education funding bodies aim to further increase the proportion of research outputs published in open-access form by introducing this as a requirement in the next REF [Notes 1 and 2]. This is in line with the funding bodies’ policy that the outputs from all research supported by our funding should be as widely and freely accessible as the available channels for dissemination permit. 

The proposals set out the details for implementing this requirement, and were developed following the advice received by the funding bodies in response to our earlier letter on open access. The consultation document is available on the HEFCE web-site. It seeks comments on the proposed criteria for open access in the post-2014 REF, the definition of the research outputs to which the criteria should apply, and the proposed approaches to exceptions from the open access requirement. The proposals have no relevance to the current REF 2014 exercise."

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On Trying to Hold Green OA and Fair-Gold OA Hostage to Subscriptions and Fools-Gold - Open Access Archivangelism

On Trying to Hold Green OA and Fair-Gold OA Hostage to Subscriptions and Fools-Gold - Open Access Archivangelism | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"The cynical, self-serving spin of Springer's replies to Richard Poynder is breathtaking: Is it a sign of Springer's new ownership?

Despite the double-talk, applying a 12-month embargo where the policy has been to endorse unembargoed immediate-Green for 10 years could hardly be described (or justified) as "simplifying" things for the author, or anyone. It would be a pure and simple bid to maintain and maximize revenue streams from both subscriptions and Gold OA. (Note that I say "would" because in fact Springer is still Green and hence still on the Side of the Angels: read on.)

Green OA means free, immediate, permanent online access; hence a 12-month embargo hardly makes Green OA sustainable, as Springer suggests! It's not OA at all.

As stated previously, the distinction between an author's institutional repository and an author's "personal website" (which is of course likewise institutional) is a distinction between different sectors of an institutional disk. The rest is a matter of tagging."

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Open and Shut?: Joseph Esposito on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?

Open and Shut?: Joseph Esposito on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done? | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"This is the fifth Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access (OA). On this occasion the questions are answered by Joseph Esposito, President of Processed Media. In the nine years since I started my blog I have interviewed a great many people about OA. Very few of my interviewees, however, have been publishers. This has not been entirely by design, more a function of the fact that publishers tend to be reluctant to speak to me. There are doubtless a number of reasons for this reticence, not least a preference for speaking to the mainstream media, which can provide a great many more eyeballs for their messages than I can.

 It has been no surprise to me, therefore, that I have thus far been unable to post a response to my questions from a publisher. But I remain hopeful that success is just around the corner." 

 

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Re-use and Reproducibility: Opportunities and Challenges

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Why Robin Osborne makes no sense

Why Robin Osborne makes no sense | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Robin Osborne, professor of ancient history at King’s College, Cambridge, had an article in the Guardian yesterday entitled “Why open access makes no sense“. It was described by Peter Coles as “a spectacularly insular and arrogant argument”, by Peter Webster as an “Amazingly wrong-headed piece” and  by Glyn Moody as “easily the most arrogant & dim-witted article I’ve ever read on OA”.

Here’s my response (posted as a comment on the original article):

At a time when the world as a whole is waking up to the open-access imperative, it breaks my heart to read this fusty, elitist, reactionary piece, in which Professor Osborne ends up arguing strongly for his own irrelevance. What a tragic lack of vision, and of ambition."

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Nigel Vincent reflects on the Open Access monograph challenge

Nigel Vincent reflects on the Open Access monograph challenge | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Monographs are an intrinsically important mode of academic production and must not be sacrificed on the altar of open access, argues Nigel Vincent inDebating Open Access, a new publication from the British Academy. Book chapters are also a valuable and distinctive type of output which could find their visibility, and hence their viability, enhanced by an appropriate OA policy.

There are to date no agreed OA solutions in the domain of books. In developing OA models for books it is important that the peer review process as the guarantee of excellence is not compromised. Adoption of the untrammelled CC-BY licence is not appropriate for monographs and book chapters."

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Open Access at Oxford » Open Access scenario 2: Going Green

Open Access at Oxford » Open Access scenario 2: Going Green | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"This is the 2nd in the series of scenarios. We meet an MRC-funded Oxford University Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Professor. Professor Smith has published two papers since 1 April 2013, when the RCUK policy on Open Access came into effect. In the example provided below Professor Smith was able to publish her paper Open Access via the ‘green’ route. 

Professor Smith, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, supports the idea that research funded by taxpayers’ money should be made available open access. However, the access status of a particular journal is not her main criterion in deciding where to publish. When publishing she always asks members of her team: “Who do you want to read your paper?”

- “It is all about visibility, impact within communities and fit to the subject”, she says."

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Willetts: I don’t want research restricted

Willetts: I don’t want research restricted | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Funds are allocated on project quality not desire to support elite, says minister. Chris Parr reports. 

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, has maintained that he does not have an agenda for further concentrating research budget allocations on elite institutions.

Speaking as part of a launch event for the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 2013 rankings of young universities, Mr Willetts said that research funding should be based on the projects that were bidding for money, not just the institutions where they were based.

The government has been accused of creating a concentration of research in elite universities by asking for funding to be cut for lower-rated research and focusing capital investment on large projects involving such institutions"

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12 ideas to improve development research access and uptake

12 ideas to improve development research access and uptake | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"Ruth King, publisher, BioMed Central, London, UK. @tweetruth

Open access can strengthen research quality: OA journals employ different business models from other journals, but there's nothing stopping them from having the same editorial quality standards. Also, with enough feedback systems in place, research quality can increase with exposure.

Researchers shouldn't have to plan how their work will be applied: If researchers were required to plan how their research would be made into policy and practice, it could put them off asking truly innovative research questions. However, I do think that researchers should be engaged with the practical uses of what they are working on."

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Picture emerges over ‘gold’ open-access allocations

Picture emerges over ‘gold’ open-access allocations | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"The first signs are emerging of how UK universities are earmarking the £100 million allocated by Research Councils UK to pay for open-access publishing.

Introduced in April, the block grant pays the article fees required by journals to make papers freely available instantly under the “gold” open-access model. The sum comes on top of an initial £10 million outlay awarded to 30 universities in 2012.

At a session of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators annual conference, held in Nottingham on 11 and 12 June, eight delegates indicated that their institutions had decided on the mechanisms to apportion the cash"

 

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COAR » Sustainable Practices for Populating Repositories Report published

COAR » Sustainable Practices for Populating Repositories Report published | Open Access News from the RSP team | Scoop.it

"COAR announces the publication of the report, “Incentives, Integration, and Mediation: Sustainable Practices for Populating Repositories” by COAR Working Group 1: Repository Content. The report profiles a variety of successful practices for populating repositories from around the world."

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