As preparations for the 2021 research excellence framework continue apace, UK-based academics could be forgiven for pushing the 2027 assessment to the back of their minds for now.
However, one specific element of the plans for the REF after next has been triggering lively debate in recent weeks: the proposed extension of open-access requirements for submitted outputs to include long-form scholarly works and monographs.
“Implemented in March 2017, this new initiative is intended to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members by publishing open-access digital editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs.
Participating universities and colleges have committed to three components: provide a baseline university publishing grant of $15,000 to support the publication of an open access, digital monograph of 90,000 words or less (with additional funding for works of greater length or complexity to be negotiated by the author, institution, and publisher); set a target of awarding at least three publishing grants per year; and participate in this initiative for five years.
Publishers accepting these grants, for eligible books that have been approved through the usual editorial and peer review processes, will make a high-quality, platform-agnostic, digital edition freely available….”
“The best consequence of the proposed Pull Model is access for all. It also introduces a free market mechanism for scholarly publications, whereby publishers must compete for institution submission subscription fees, by establishing themselves to be worthy outlets for dissemination, maintaining their reputation for quality, and preserving the integrity of the peer-review process. Lastly, it encourages institutions and their faculty to work more closely in assessing publication quality. With these ends in mind, the future of publications will continue to change, and the Pull Model, though disruptive to the existing publishing ecosystem, is one step to initiate a discussion on such a transformation.”
“Today the leading open access publisher Springer Nature announces that it has achieved a milestone in advancing discovery through open research, with over 70% of corresponding authors from four European countries now publishing via gold open access….This achievement has been made possible through a unique environment in these markets, with support from governments and institutions who back open access, funders who fund APCs, authors who are willing to publish via open access, and a publisher providing authors with a range of publishing options, making open access a reality. Globally, 27% of all research published by Springer Nature is now published under an immediate gold open access model. Most of this is in pure OA journals but in the four countries above increased hybrid OA take-up means offsetting is occurring there while more generally more article growth is being funded outside of library budgets….”
“As its recent data demonstrate, in some European states between 70% and 90% of Springer’s newly published articles are in Open Access, which indicates that the journal- and country-level adoption of Open Access becomes increasingly mainstream, even though it depends on author fee funding availability….”
“This Executive Summary accompanies a Pathways to OA document (“Pathways document”) prepared ursuant to the Council of University Librarian’s (CoUL)1 3 August 2017 charging statement. In the Pathways document, our Working Group2 analyzes the various approaches to or models for achieving open access (Green, Gold-APC, Gold-non-APC), and the actionable strategies that exist to implement each approach (e.g., for Gold OA APC-based approach, one strategy is library subvention funding). Our Pathways document is intended to assist campus libraries and the California Digital Library (CDL) with individual and, where appropriate, collective decision-making about which OA strategies, possible next steps, or experiments to pursue in order to achieve large-scale transition to OA….”
Abstract: The increasing volume and complexity of research, scholarly publication, and research information puts an added strain on traditional methods of scholarly communication and evaluation. Information goods and networks are not standard market goods – and so we should not rely on markets alone to develop new forms of scholarly publishing. The affordances of digital information and networks create many opportunities to unbundle the functions of scholarly communication – the central challenge is to create a range of new forms of publication that effectively promote both market and collaborative ecosystems.
“Along with a number of leading Danish industrial companies, Aarhus University has opted out of the rat race in a new collaboration on industrially relevant basic research. Researchers and companies from all over Denmark publish all their results and data on the innovative Open Science platform, where the information is available free of charge to everyone interested….
The Open Science platform is thus the source of a number of paradigm shifts. It not only breaks away from the focus of universities on patenting their research discoveries, but also constitutes a conscious rebellion against the business models used by scientific journals….”
“Wellcome Trust and UK Research & Innovation launch reviews of policies that require funded papers to be made freely available…
[T]he Wellcome Trust highlighted that 71 per cent of its £5.7 million outlay on article processing charges in 2015-16 had been spent with hybrid open access journals. These are subscription periodicals that allow papers to be made freely available in return for the processing fee.
Significantly, average article processing charges for hybrid open access titles stood at £2,209 that year, 34 per cent higher than the average for a fully open access paper (£1,644).
Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome, said that part of the rationale for the review came from “increasing costs”, particularly from hybrid journals.
Compliance with Wellcome’s open access policy now stands at more than 75 per cent, and it is thought that addressing cost issues would push this even higher….
A recent Universities UK report found that higher education institutions’ journal subscription costs had increased by 20 per cent in three years despite the shift to open access, with the dual income streams of hybrid journals a major concern….”