“37. Evidence gathered through a recent survey on open access (OA) shows that, for over 80 per cent of outputs in the scope of the policy, either the outputs met the REF policy requirements in the first year (1 April 2016 to 1 April 2017), or an exception to the policy requirement is known to have applied. This reflects significant progress toward the policy intent to increase substantially the proportion of research that is made available open access in the UK.
38. The funding bodies have carefully considered the evidence gathered in the survey relating to the policy’s deposit requirements. We wish to continue building on the progress achieved to date and to maintain the momentum towards developing new tools to implement deposit as soon after the point of acceptance as possible. We therefore confirm the implementation of the REF OA policy as previously set out. The policy will require outputs to be deposited as soon after the point of acceptance as possible, and no later than three months after this date (as given in the acceptance letter or email from the publication to the author) from 1 April 2018.
39. Taking account of some of the practical concerns raised through the survey in relation to deposit on acceptance, we will introduce a deposit exception in to the policy from 1 April 2018. This exception will allow outputs unable to meet this deposit timescale, to remain compliant if they are deposited up to three months after the date of publication. The exception will read: ‘The output was not deposited within three months of acceptance date, but was deposited within three months of the earliest date of publication.’ This exception will remain in place for the rest of the REF 2021 publication period.
40. Further detail on the evidence assessed to make this decision is based at Annex B. The REF OA policy has been updated to include the additional exception. A full report of the UKwide survey on the delivery of funders’ open access policies will be published early in 2018….”
“The rules for the next Research Excellence Framework were supposed to be done and dusted a long time ago. Instead, we are looking at yet another consultation exercise covering institutional eligibility, staff submission, and the hotly contested question of output portability. These are questions that HEFCE and the other UK funding councils have been very publically wrestling with since the publication of the Stern Review of Research Funding.”
“A similar model, introduced successfully at Harvard University in 2008 and adopted by many US institutions (such as MIT), inspired the UK-SCL. Under the UK-SCL each member of staff grants the university a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to make the accepted final version of their scholarly articles publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY NC) licence. Under this licence, non-commercial reuse is permitted, as long as the author is credited. The university can sublicense these rights to all authors of the paper and their host institutions. The university will make metadata available publicly upon deposit and the manuscript within 12 months of acceptance or immediately upon publication, whichever is earlier. On request the university will usually (but does not have to) grant a waiver to these rights for up to 2 years from publication. [The exact embargo length and length of waiver are still under discussion] Imperial College London is leading the implementation of the UK-SCL. Discussions involve over 70 organisations in the UK including several Russell Group institutions. There has also been extensive consultation with the Russell Group Policy office, HEFCE, Jisc, the Wellcome Trust and a number of international organisation….”
“Researchers at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are now subject to HEFCE’s open access policy if they want to submit their work to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2021. The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016. These research outputs must be deposited in an institutional or subject repository as soon as possible after the point of acceptance. For the first two years of the policy there is flexibility to deposit up to three months after the date of early online publication. After April 2018, it is anticipated that the policy terms will become stricter and deposit must occur within three months of acceptance….The financial costs associated with supporting compliance with the policy are high. Many HEIs initially relied heavily on their Research Councils UK funding to meet staffing costs. Over time, institutions have taken on staff costs to ensure the longevity of their open access teams, and some have even been in a position to create institutional funds for gold open access. At a time when increasing subscription costs are regularly imposed by publishers it can be difficult for institutions to find the means to support open access, despite its obvious importance. The cultural challenges associated with the HEFCE policy can prove to be even more difficult to overcome….After three years of promotion and engagement with researchers through school board meetings, research support meetings, training sessions and online support materials, attitudes have gradually shifted towards support for open access. Following a review of 2016, we discovered that 93% of the papers in our repository that are subject to HEFCE’s policy are REF eligible. This positive trend has continued into 2017 with many more papers being deposited on a daily basis….”
“In total there’s a 55% Green OA/45% Gold OA split, and given that Green OA represents more inconvenience than most of our academic colleagues unfamiliar with arXiv have ever been willing to tolerate, it is very unlikely indeed that the University would have achieved such high compliance had the Library not provided a mediated Green OA deposit service. The data confirms our approach helped make Green Open Access an organisational habit practically overnight.
The approach has come at a cost however; over the past year, supporting the HEFCE OA policy has taken up the majority of the team’s bandwidth with most of our 9am-5pm conversations being in some way related to a paper’s compliance with one or more funder OA policy.
Now that our current processes have bedded in, and in anticipation of the launch of the new UK Scholarly Communications License (UK-SCL) – for more on this read Chris Banks’s article or watch her UKSG presentation – and further developments from Jisc, we hope that over the next 12 months we can tilt the balance away from this reductionist approach to our scholarly output and focus on other elements of the scholarly communication ecosystem. For example, we are already in discussions with Altmetric about incorporating their tools into our OA workflows to help our academics build connections with audiences and are keen to roll this out soon – from early conversations with academics we think this is something they’re really going to like.”
“One of the aspects of the Stern review that has attracted the most attention from my Twitter stream is the non-portability of research outputs. What this means is that institutions cannot poach staff from elsewhere and use their outputs to return to REF.
Now, there’s a problem with Stern at the moment in that he doesn’t say what will happen with ECR/Ph.D. student outputs when they move to their first post with a research element. I’m sure that HEFCE will fix this, though, in implementation. Taking that into account, I think this is a very positive step. Why? …”
“This guide has been produced to assist arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) researchers in understanding the state of play with regards to open access in the UK and what it means to them as current and future authors of scholarly monographs. A series of questions commonly asked by researchers or of relevance to researchers are presented with answers. The questions have been drawn primarily from over 250 individual responses by researchers, learned societies, university departments and publishers to the recent Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (www.hefce.ac.uk) consultation on open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework, which included the following statement: “In view of our expectation that open access publication for monographs and books is likely to be achievable in the long term, we would like to make clear our intention to extend the requirement to these output types in the future, but not in the period being addressed by this consultation”. …”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”
“Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue to be an incredible source of learning for how impact works in each of our disciplines, locations or sectors.”