This page summarises supporting statements, mandates and policies about open access at government and large funder level since mid-2012. There are several other lists available which have a slightly different focus. For example the Declarations in support of OA page lists declarations, principles, and public statements in support of open access from 1964 to present, ranging from statements from individual academic departments to large international statements. The Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP) lists mandates connected to institutions with repositories. The Research funders’ open access policies page provides a searchable database of policies, by country or funder.
Advice on developing open access policies
- December 2015 JISC Schema for Open Access policies
- Harvard University “Good practices for university open access policies“
- UNESCO – ‘Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of open access‘ by Alma Swan
- COSIAC paper “Developing open access policies in Australia“
Analysis of the effect of open access policies
NEW A literature review on methods for converting subscription-based scholarly journals to open access, which was commissioned by Peter Suber on behalf of the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication was released in March 2016 in draft form for comments.
(June 2012) European Research Council – found 62% of journal articles from ERC funded projects are available open access (varied across domains)
“The Future of Taxpayer-Funded Research: Who Will Control Access to the Results?” (February 2012) Committee for Economic Development – an analysis of the NIH Policy:
No persuasive evidence exists that greater public access as provided by the NIH policy has substantially harmed subscription-supported STM publishers over the last four years or threatens the sustainability of their journals or their ability to fund peer review, where experts voluntarily provide evaluations of manuscripts that are submitted by their authors without any compensation from the publishers.(p. 6)
Xia, J et al (2012) “A Review of Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate Policies” portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol 12, No 1, pp.85-102 – concludes that an open access mandate policy, by itself, will not change existing practices of scholarly self-archiving.
The final version of the Guide to Tagging Institutional Repository Records Related to ARC/NHMRC Grants (March 2014) is now available on the CAUL website. This document was prepared by: Paula Callan (QUT), Mark Gregson (QUT), Kerrie Burn (ACU) and Tony McCall (ACU).
The Wellcome Trust has an open access policy, requiring that authors publish in an open access or hybrid journal (providing funds for APCs). They ensure compliance for all published after 1 October 2009 by withholding the final 10% of the total budget, not notifying researchers of funding renewals and preventing them from activating a new grant. Non-compliant publications from Wellcome funding will not be counted in a researcher’s track record.
- NEW The OA2020 project launched on March 21 2016. With 31 signatories initially, this project which arose following the Berlin 2015 meeting aims to “induce the swift, smooth and scholarly-oriented transformation of today’s scholarly journals from subscription to open access publishing.”
- As part of the Netherlands’ continued aim to move towards full OA by 2014 VSNU, the association of The Netherlands Universities, released an ezine that lays out key events and their approach to OA. – February 2016
- Professor Adam Tickell, Chair of the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group, delivered a report to the UK Government on the UK OA policy – February 2016
- All the current information on responses to the the White House Executive Directive on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research are listed here
- OpenAIRE2020 – the European Union project began monitoring research outputs as a key part of infra-structure for dissemination of scientific publications arising out of H2020 funded projects. By December 2015, more than 12 million OA outputs were searchable on their site.
- The Berlin12 meeting had discussions on how to flip journals from subscription to open access. Presentations are here. -December 2015
- Science Europe’s members – comprising 50 major public research organisations in Europe – adopted four new common principles on Open Access Publisher Services. -April 2015
- The Gates Foundation Open Access policy came into effect – Jan 2015
- Swedish Research Council Proposed national guidelines for open access to scientific information now issued – Jan 19 2015
- Open Access Policy Announced by Two Departments within India’s Ministry of Science and Technology
- California enacts law to increase public access to publicly funded research – October 2014
- Swedish national guidelines for open access to research findings – September 2014
- International Council for Science endorses open access to scientific record – 2 September 2014
- Indian OA policy proposal – July 2014
- Denmark´s National Strategy for Open Access – July 2014
- Chinese Academy of Sciences Open Access policy – 16 May 2014
- Mexico national legislation on open access and repositories – 8 April 2014
- Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework – March 2014
- Italy requires OA for young researchers – 23 January 2014
- US Congress passed FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill – 13 January 2014
- Joint Research Centre adopts open access policy – 6 January 2014
- EU Horizon 2020 policy rules released – 11 December 2013
- Argentine Congress pass OA legislation – 13 November 2013
- OA Guidelines for researchers funded by the ERC – October 2013
- Canada’s tricouncil funding agencies – 15 October 2013
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research OA policy – 13 September 2013
- HEFCE consultation launched (UK) – 24 July 2013
- G8 Ministers of Science statement – 13 June 2013
- Peru Congress passes OA legislation – March 2013
- Global Research Council – 27 May 2013
- UNESCO OA policy– 15 May 2013
- Science Europe – April 2013
- RCUK policy (UK) – 1 April 2013
- HEFCE proposal (UK) – 25 February 2013
- White House policy (US) – 22 February 2013
- Irish National Principles on OA – January 2013
- European Commission – 17 July 2012
- Finch Report (UK) – 16 July 2012
- World Bank OA policy – 10 April 2012
- Measuring impact – 19 June 2013
- Universities Australia – A Smarter Australia – 27 February 2013 Further statement Jan 2014
- NHMRC & ARC – July 2012 & January 2013
- The National Research Investment Plan – 2012
Open Access Policy Announced by Two Departments within India’s Ministry of Science and Technology
Two departments within India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have released a new Open Access Policy. Under the new policy, researchers who receive funding or use resources from from these departments can still publish in any journals they wish, but they will need to deposit copies of the final papers and supporting data in institutional repositories where the information can be accessed by the public:
“The final accepted manuscript (after refereeing, revision, etc.) resulting from research projects, which are fully or partially funded by DBT or DST, or were performed using infrastructure built with the support of these organizations, should be deposited. This also includes review articles, both invited and author initiated, for those who received funding from DBT or DST during that period. The full-text of the paper, metadata and supplementary materials should be deposited. At the end of the full-text the acknowledgement should carry the grant number.”
Researchers must deposit their works in the repositories within two weeks of acceptance by a journal, but if the journal requires an embargo, the repository will not make the paper available until the embargo ends. The Open Access Policy makes clear, however, that “the essence of the policy is to enhance public exposure of the research… expeditiously.” It recommends a maximum embargo of six months for science, technology and medicine papers, and twelve months for arts, humanities, and social science papers.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 609–the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act. The law requires that research articles created with funds from the California Department of Public Health be made publicly available in an online repository no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. AB 609 is described as the first state-level law requiring free access to publicly funded research. It is similar to the federal National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy.
The law applies to grantees who receive research funds from the Department of Public Health, and those grantees are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning manuscripts submitted to journals fully comply with AB 609. For an article accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the grantee must ensure that an electronic version of the peer-reviewed manuscript is available to the department and on an appropriate publicly accessible database approved by the department within 12 months of publication in the journal. It will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
Based on the work carried out by the European Union (EU) and the Commission’s recommendations to Member States, the Swedish Government has commissioned the Swedish Research Council to develop national guidelines for open access to research findings (Open Access). The Swedish Research Council will collaborate with the National Library of Sweden and other relevant partners accordingly.
International Council for Science endorses open access to scientific record
The General Assembly of the International Council for Science today endorsed open access principles and provided key recommendations guarding against the misuse of metrics in the evaluation of research performance.
Auckland, 2 September – In a strong show of support for open access to the scientific record, the Assembly, which unites representatives of 120 national scientific academies and 31 international scientific unions, today voted for the statement which stakes out 5 key goals for open access, and offers 12 recommendations that pave the road for attaining them.
“Open Access is a key mechanism to support the development of science and of vital importance to all scientists both young and old,” said Prof. John Ball, who led the ICSU working group that developed the statement. “It is a powerful tool for creating and validating knowledge, and for supporting science as a public good, and not as something carried out behind closed doors,” he added.
The five goals in the statement assert that access to the scientific record should be free of financial barriers for any researcher to contribute to; free of financial barriers for any user to access immediately on publication; made available without restriction on reuse for any purpose, subject to proper attribution; quality-assured and published in a timely manner; and archived and made available in perpetuity.
Indian OA policy proposal- July 2014
The Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have proposed an OA policy that is in draft form and open for comment.
The policy requires grantees to make their articles available in OA journals or in repositories. For repository deposit, authors are required to upload the accepted manuscript within a few weeks of acceptance, but public viewing can be embargoed for up to 1 year.
Of particular note, however, is the copyright agreement (or addendum) that appears to be required whether publishing in an OA or subscription journal. Where the authors own copyright they are required to use the addendum which reserves the rights to reuse the Version of Record in any way, for non-commercial purposes (effectively the CC-BY-NC licence). It also allows the authors (or other copyright owners) the rights to assign these rights to another person or institution.
Denmark´s National Strategy for Open Access
Vision – To create free access for all citizens, researchers and companies to all research articles from Danish research institutions financed by public authorities and/or private foundations.
Chinese Academy of Sciences Open Access Policy – 16 May 2014
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) open access policy will require its researchers and graduate students to deposit final, peer-reviewed manuscripts of research articles into the open access repositories of their respective institutes within 12 months of their official publication in academic journals. CAS will also encourage researchers to deposit previously published articles into their respective institutional repositories as well.
Mexico national legislation on open access and repositories – 8 April 2014
Mexico is the third country in the region which now has national legislation related to the issue of open access. This legislation is intended to place Mexico into an ‘information society’. The Act provides for the establishment and operation of the National Repository of Science, Technology and Innovation Information. The President of Mexico, Peña Nieto, said (loosely translated from Spanish): “This new law further democratizes the use of the information to allow Mexicans to have free access to the scientific and academic products financed partially or wholly by public funds. ”
Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework – March 2014
This document sets out the details of a requirement that certain research outputs should be made open-access to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). This requirement will apply to journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016.
Italian Ministry of Education University and Research (MIUR) has launched SIR (Scientific Independence of young researchers) which includes a clause mandating OA for publications and data based on the Horizon 2020 grant agreement (in Italian- only )
The FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill has a requirement for the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education And Related Agencies (LHHS). Section 527 (p1020) states each Federal agency or each bureau of multiple bureaus with funding of $100 million or more are required to provide a machine-readable version of the Accepted Manuscripts to peer reviewed journals to the agency and these must be freely accessible online no later than 12 months after official publication, complying with all relevant copyright laws.
The JCU is the European Commission’s in-house science service and in accordance with the EU’s new open access policy for scientific publications, JRC articles in peer-reviewed publications where JRC staff members are first or corresponding author will be freely and publicly available, making the majority of JRC scientific results accessible online. JRC researchers are now expected to publish any new peer-reviewed research paper in journals that are compliant with the updated policy. The JRC supports both gold and green routes to open access. In line with the Horizon 2020 requirement, the JRC accepts an embargo period no longer than six to twelve months.
The 2020Horizon rules have been released and the OA policy in the Multi-beneficiary General Model Grant Agreement. On pp. 60-61, Article 29 provides a general obligation to dissemination results by disclosing them to the public by appropriate means (other than those resulting from protecting or exploiting the results), including in scientific publications (in any medium)” It includes Article 29.2 which specifically relates to open access to scientific publications, where “Each beneficiary must ensure open access (free of charge, online access for any user) to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results”. There is provisions for the open Research Data Pilot.
The Argentine Congress has passed legislation that requires that all publicly funded research be available in open access interoperable institutional repositories (individual or collaborative repositories) with a maximum embargo of 6 months. Argentina has a National Digital Repositories System established by the Ministry to support the development and coordination of digital repositories. In May 2012 the Chamber of Deputies passed the bill and in November 13th. 2013, the Senate passed the bill which will be enacted and regulated. The text of the bill approved by Deputies, with no changes in the Senate, is in Spanish here
The European Research Council guidelines request that an electronic copy of any research article, monograph or other research publication that is supported in whole, or in part, by ERC funding be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication. Open access should be provided as soon as possible and in any case no later than six months after the official publication date. For publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities domain a delay of up to twelve months is acceptable. The guidelines encourage green OA but also says grant money can be used to pay APCs and suggests institution offer funds for this.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s three funding agencies (NSERC, CIHR and SSHR) have released their draft open access policy requiring funded publications to be accessible within 12 months of publication, either through the publisher’s website (Option #1) or an online repository (Option #2). Data in some disciplines needs to be deposited. Comments due 13 December
ICAR’s policy requires each ICAR institute to setup an Open Access institutional repository. They will setup a central harvester to harvest the metadata and full-text of all the records from all the OA repositories of the ICAR institutes for one stop access to all the agricultural knowledge generated in ICAR. All the journals published by the ICAR have been made Open Access.
HEFCE have released their consultation document which is seeking comment 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. They are inviting responses from higher education institutions and other groups, organisations and individuals with an interest in scholarly publishing and research. Responses to the consultation are due online by 5pm 30 October 2013.
The first ever meeting of G8 joint Science Ministers and national science academies resulted in the G8 Science Ministers Statement, released on 13 June 2013.
The section on Expanding Access to Scientific Research Results endorses the principle that increasing access to the peer-reviewed, published results of publicly funded research will accelerate research, drive innovation, and benefit the economy. The section recognises the different routes to open access “which need to be explored and potentially developed in a complementary way”. The statement also refers to data, saying that opening up research data will help speed scientific discovery and innovation as well as allow transparency in science.
G8 consists of the heads of state or government of the major industrial democracies – France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia. Australia is a member of the Group of 20 (G20) which means we would be part of any discussion to expand this commitment to open access out to the larger group.
The statement from the G8 Science Ministers is very welcome, not least because it does not follow the Finch Report/UK Government support for publication in open access journals as the primary method of achieving open access. By recognising the different routes to open access this statement supports the statements and policies being adopted worldwide. The G8 Statement is also positive in its commitment to open scientific research data.
Peru Congress has passed legislation to establish the legal and regulatory framework for an Open Access National Digital Repository for output from publicly funded science, technology and innovation activities. The legislation states deposit is mandatory for any research output (articles, technical reports, doctoral thesis, books, book chapters, software, data and others) from projects funded by the Government. The legislation requires deposit of metadata and a copy of the work into the National Digital Repository. The work is to be made available after observation of any embargo period (without specifying periods). The details of the law are available (in Spanish)
In Peru, the National Council of Science, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC) is responsible for the management of the National Digital Repository. CONCYTEC will hold its own collections from government funded research outputs in the National Digital Repository, and will also harvest collections from a network of digital repositories in Peru (RENARE).
What is interesting about all of this is the networked nature of the repositories. The Peruvian National Digital Repository is a member of La Referencia, a Latin American network of nine national systems of digital repositories (Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, México, Perú and Venezuela) launched in 2012 with support from IADB, and today has 350.000 initial contents from the region.
The Global Research Council released an Action Plan towards Open Access to Publications during the 2nd Annual Global Meeting, 27 – 29 May 2013, in Berlin.
The plan recognises that there are many different scholarly outputs, but this first Action Plan concentrates on open access to research articles from scholarly journals.
In order to increase their return on investments, research councils encourage open access to all results from publicly funded research which originated from their funding. The plan notes the need for education of researchers about open access.
The major principles and aims of the Action Plan are encouragement and support for publishing in open access journals, encouragement and support for author self-deposit into open access repositories, and the creation and inter-connection of repositories. The document is comprehensive addressing issues of education and reward as well as mechanisms for payment and monitoring.
The Global Research Council is a virtual organisation, comprised of the heads of science and engineering funding agencies from around the world, “dedicated to promoting the sharing of data and best practices for high-quality collaboration among funding agencies worldwide”. There is no member list on the website, but the governing council includes people from Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Europe, Canada, US, Russia and India.
It is not clear if this will affect Australia specifically. There are many researchers in Australia who are recipients of funding from overseas which would include these funding agencies. This is a policy statement and it is up to each agency to develop policies based upon the principles in the statement.
From July 2013, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will make all new digital publications available with an open license. http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/ERI/pdf/oa_policy_en_2.pdf As one of the first steps, UNESCO will make these publications available online through a multilingual Repository. Authors publishing UNESCO resources in an external publication must not sign copyright away.
UNESCO has an Open Access to Scientific Information Strategy, and maintains the Global Open Access Portal (GOAP). Note the Australian page is woefully out of date despite repeated requests for it to be updated.
Many Australian researchers do work either directly for UNESCO or using UNESCO funds. UNESCO is working on applying this policy retroactively, that is, to works already published, which would allow existing publications to be made available in institutional repositories.
Science Europe released its Position Statement – Principles for the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications in April 2013.
After making comments about the benefits of open access, the principles conclude: “the common goal of Science Europe Members is to shift to a research publication system in which free access to research publications is guaranteed, and which avoids undue publication barriers. This involves a move towards Open Access, replacing the present subscription system with other publication models whilst redirecting and reorganising the current resources accordingly.”
Science Europe is a Brussels-based association of 51 European national research organisations. It was founded in October 2011 with the aim of promoting the collective interests of members and providing them with a platform to collaborate at both policy and activity level.
One of the principles they support is that the hybrid model as it currently stands “is not a working and viable pathway to open access”. They specifically state that any model for transitioning to open access must prevent ‘double dipping’. This is clearly at odds with the UK Government/Finch position.
On 1 April 2013 the Research Councils of UK’s open access policy came into effect. Researchers must publish with a publisher that offers an open access option. They are to publish either in an open access journal or to have a copy of work deposited into a repository within 6 months of publication (12 months from some humanities fields). In the case of depositing a work in a repository “In this latter case, in STEM disciplines, RCUK will accept a delay of no more than six months between on‐line publication and the final Accepted Manuscript becoming Open Access. In the case of papers in the arts, humanities and social sciences (which will mainly be funded by the AHRC and the ESRC), the maximum embargo period will be twelve months.”
Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. They support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK.
The issue in this policy is it prefers gold open access option (through a hybrid program) if a journal offers this. See the RCUK OA decision tree. In addition, if the journal has an embargo on making deposited publications available that is longer than the periods specified then the researcher is expected to pay article processing charges for gold open access (if funds are available). Clearly it is advantageous for journals to offer a hybrid option and to extend their embargo periods in response to this policy.
Many publishers have made announcements in response to the RCUK mandate. These range in form across videos from BioMed Central to announcements such as from Oxford University Press to a blog post from SAGE. Wiley and Elsevier have also made arrangements to manage the RCUK mandate. In some cases the response has been to tighten restrictions on green open access, introducing embargoes where there were none previously. For a fuller discussion on changing copyright agreements, read here.
On 25 February 2013, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) released a document inviting advice on developing the four UK funding bodies’ joint policy on open access. The policy suggests that only work that is deposited in a repository on acceptance would be eligible for consideration in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
HEFCE distributes public money for higher education to universities and colleges in England, and ensures that this money is used to deliver the greatest benefit to students and the wider public. They do this through an assessment process called the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which is not dissimilar to the Excellence in Research for Australia program (except there is funding associated with the outcome).
The REF system requires researchers to nominate their best samples of work for assessment. The proposal means that any work that was not deposited in the institutional repository at the time of acceptance cannot be nominated. So researchers will not be able to retrospectively add works to the repository and include them for counting. By tying open access to reward, and insisting on early deposit, this proposal has the potential to drastically alter researcher deposit behaviour in the UK. Unfortunately the publishers’ responses to the RCUK policy seems to mean that the deposited works will be held under increasingly longer embargoes.
On 22 February 2013, the Obama Administration released a new policy that requires U.S. Federal agencies spending over $100 million in research and development have to have a plan to “support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government” within 12 months.
Since this directive was released there have been two opposing proposals, one called CHORUS from publishers, and the other called SHARE from libraries. A full discussion of these is on our blog here.
Ireland’s Minister of State, Dept of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation and Dept of Education and Skills, Sean Sherlock, launched the National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement on 23 October 2013. It suggests deposit on acceptance with immediate release of metadata and access to full text provided after any required embargo. Like the Australian mandates gold open access is permitted but not necessary for compliance with the policy. The statement refers to interoperability meaning that researchers should only have to deposit work once and allow harvesting to occur rather than redepositing work.
The statement is effective from January 2013 with individual research organisations determining their own timeframes for implementation. This means there may be some delay in the complete uptake of the policy, but the statement indicates an intention to expand the reach of the statement beyond Irish universities to include provision for all publicly funded research in Ireland.
The European Commission has stated that under their Research & Innovation funding programme, all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible as of 2014. The statement is that articles will either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher or researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication.
The European Commission has suggested that up-front publication costs can be eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission. The goal is for 60% of European publicly-funded research articles to be available under open access by 2016.
The European Commission spends €87 billion annually in research and development. This policy will have profound effects across the published literature.
In September 2011 a committee was convened to examine how UK-funded research could be made more accessible. It released its Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings – the Finch Group in July 2012. The committee, chaired by Dame Janet Finch, was set up by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.
The main thrust of the report was that publicly funded research should be freely accessible. But the Committee, which included universities, librarians and publishers among others, has favoured the “gold” approach for facilitating access to research. The report also recommends payment of article processing charges for “hybrid” journals.
The UK government subsequently endorsed the report, initially saying the funds for the extra publication costs would need to come from existing research funds. By November 2012 the Government changed their position announcing a BP10 million fund to pay for publication charges.
The Finch report has had some far reaching effects. By supporting hybrid journals – which charge for making a specific article available, while still charging subscriptions for the remainder of the journal – the Report is sanctioning “double dipping” by publishers on top of the substantial subscription costs universities are already paying through their libraries.
And because there is government-supported funding for article processing charges, the commercial publishers are emphasising their hybrid options over the permissions to make work available in repositories. Indeed, some publishers have altered their permissions in response, making them more restricted. For more information on this see here.
The World Bank implemented an Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products, effective July 1, 2012. This applies to both work carried out by Bank staff members as part of their official duties and outside research funded by the Bank. The policy includes accompanying data sets. For external research funded by the Bank, for which funding was approved on or after July 1, 2012, the policy applies to the final report provided by the researchers to the funding unit within the Bank. The mechanism is to deposit works in the Open Knowledge Repository.
This is an excellent decision by the World Bank. However, it is not always obvious to users that research is now available through the repository. For a discussion of this issue see this blog.
For those interested in a history of what support the government has provided for open access in the past this post has a summary.
The Australian government has released a discussion paper Assessing the wider benefits arising from university-based research: Discussion paper. The paper is working through the process of designing and developing an assessment system, and is “seeking the views of interested parties regarding a future assessment of the benefits arising from university-based research”.
Submissions are due by 16 August 2013. There will be a pilot exercise in 2014. Information about the project is here.
At the Valuing the Humanities forum held at the National Library of Australia on 19th February this year, Lisa Schofield, the General Manager, Research Outcomes & Policy Branch, of the Department of Innovation noted that impact must be beyond academia. Impact is produced by the users of research & happens outside the academies.
The Excellence in Innovation for Australia Trial was held in 2012 by the Australian Technology Network and the Group of Eight universities. It looked at case studies as a method of reporting on impact of research.
Quantifying the impact of research is more challenging than the current use of journal-level metrics. But by expanding the concept of what is considered to be ‘valuable’ research and how that is measured means that the types of metrics that value the article rather than the journal can be considered. For more discussion about altmetrics, there is information in this post.
Universities Australia released their policy document A Smarter Australia: An agenda for Australian higher education 2013-2016 on 27 February 2013.
The document has a positive approach to open access, stating:
Universities Australia believes that there is enormous public benefit in increasing access to the outcomes of all research, especially research that has been publicly funded. There are a number of logistical, practical and commercial issues that need to be addressed to achieve this goal and Universities Australia, with the support of government, is committed to making Australia’s high-quality research output freely accessible to all.
Indeed, the organisation has generally supported the concept of open access for some time. In its previous incarnation as the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (AVCC) the group was one of the few Australian organisations to sign the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative.
The targets the document sets are very conservative, suggesting that the proportion of full text publications available should be 50% by 2030.
It is positive that Universities Australia has publicly supported open access, but the targets the document sets out are so far into the future it is difficult to see whether this document will have any practical impact in the advancement of open access in Australia.
In July 2012 the NHMRC released its revised policy on the dissemination of research findings. And on 1 January 2013 the ARC announced its Open Access Policy. Both policies require that any publications arising from an [ARC/NHMRC] supported research project must be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve (12) month period from the date of publication”.
There is a full discussion of the policies on the Comparison of ARC & NHMRC Policies page
This is the first time Australian researchers have had any open access requirements attached to Australian funding. These policies, which specifically support green open access, take advantage of the excellent infrastructure already in place in Australian institutions. The mandates have caused institutions to examine workflows to ensure the identification of funded publications for inclusion.
This plan from the Department of Innovation has a section on open access, noting that other countries are adopting open access publishing and open science policies and that the ARC & NHMRC now have policies in place. The section concludes with the statement “It would be desirable to examine a whole-of-government approach on open access to publicly funded research so as to capture the full benefit of the government’s research investment”.
The National Research Investment Plan also stated that “ARCom [Australian Research Commission] will establish a mechanism for evaluating the national research investment planning process”. This move towards measuring the ‘impact’ of research is gaining momentum.
If the government were to move to a mandate for open access on all federally funded research then the issue of identifying grant-associated publications would no longer be necessary. It is not a stretch to suggest that making research open access will directly affect its potential impact.
Page last updated 22 March 2016