The Swiss National Strategy on Open Access and its Action Plan

“A year ago, the action plan for the Swiss National Strategy on Open Access has been approved by the plenary assembly of swissuniversities (https://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/) and has been subsequently endorsed by the governing board of the Swiss University Conference. Swiss Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are the key players in the implementation process of the national strategy, so the aim of the action plan was to provide them with options and concrete solutions to achieve the objectives that came with adopting the strategy. …

According to the “Vision 2024” underlying the national strategy, all scholarly publications resulting from publicly funded research must be freely available on the internet and, moreover, that all scholarly publications in Switzerland should be 100% Open Access within a landscape of mixed Open Access models by 2024. The proposed approaches to implement this vision have been formulated with respect to predefined guiding principles such as pursuing a powerful and unified approach while having complete cost transparency and cost neutrality in the long term. All stakeholders have to join forces in order to realize the objectives. This is especially important considering the decentralized education and research system of Switzerland.

National contract negotiations with the major publishers Springer Nature, Wiley and Elsevier under the auspices of swissuniversities are significant action items regarding a unified approach. The focus of the negotiation strategy will be on the “Read & Publish” model as a favoured negotiation approach with the goal to gain transparent pricing and greater accessibility to publications (see also the factsheet for details)….”

HDS – Press Release – Harvard Divinity School Faculty Votes for Open Access Policy

“The faculty of Harvard Divinity School (HDS) voted, in a meeting on November 15, to allow Harvard University to make electronic versions of their current scholarly articles available to the public. With the vote for open access, the Divinity School faculty joined five other Harvard schools in a commitment to disseminate faculty research and scholarship as widely as possible.”

HDS – Press Release – Harvard Divinity School Faculty Votes for Open Access Policy

“The faculty of Harvard Divinity School (HDS) voted, in a meeting on November 15, to allow Harvard University to make electronic versions of their current scholarly articles available to the public. With the vote for open access, the Divinity School faculty joined five other Harvard schools in a commitment to disseminate faculty research and scholarship as widely as possible.”

UKSCL Community Response to Plan S | UKSCL

“As written, the guidance appears to require publishers to undertake/facilitate the work of repository deposit and the repository criteria appear to have been drawn up with this in mind.

However, we envisage a scenario, particularly in the early years of Plan S implementation, whereby our community’s Model Institutional Open Access Policy,incorporating rights retention and Plan S compliant licensing and embargo periods, will be needed in addition to publisher negotiations for transformative publisher deals, particularly in the event that those deals proving to be unaffordable.

That being the case, author self-archiving will most likely be the means by which Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAM) will be deposited and made available through repositories. To this end, it would be helpful if the current repository infrastructure were also considered as a valid and valuable mechanism to meet Plan S aims.

With the above in mind, we support the COAR response[4] to the Plan S repository requirement statement.

To set this in context: at UKSCL community institutions we have already experienced strong publisher pushback on proposals to roll out adoption of the UKSCL Model Institutional Open Access Policy. Rather than contributing to the perpetuation of the status quo for subscribed content, it is our belief that widespread adoption of our Model Institutional Open Access Policy which meets Plan S requirements will provide a further legal lever to encourage publishers to develop their own affordable and transformative routes towards achieving Plan S aims and to demonstrate the value that they otherwise add to the scholarly communications process beyond the availability of the AAM text in a repository.

The Policy, based on the “Harvard model OA policy”[5], enables the automatic retention of rights by the institution, rights which individual academics at that institution can choose to exercise in full or in part.

The work undertaken in the UK has achieved a policy which works in the context of UK Copyright legislation. It’s development has been supported by expert IP legal advice.

The work was originally prompted as a result of the “policy stack”[6] situation in the UK: multiple funder OA policies with differing compliance criteria coupled with multiple publisher policies, some of which varied according to the funding received by the authoring academics. However, we also believe that the Model Institutional Open Access Policy has a potentially significant role to play in the realisation of cOAlition S aims of “making full and open access a reality”.[7]

The UKSCL Model Institutional Policy is fundamentally about rights retention and early release of the findings about research – all called for in Plan S. Despite the differing copyright regimes in the USA and the UK, we have been able to draw up a policy which works legally within UK copyright legislation.

It is important to understand how the UKSCL Model Institutional Open Access Policy works in practice as there are three components:

  • Where an institution has adopted the UK-SCL as its model OA policy, rights retention on behalf of the academic come into existence at the point the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) comes into existence. Those rights are then transferred back to the academic. This step is essential – those steps that follow could then be made optional, particularly in the early days of Plan S funder policies.
    • Licence choice on deposit: the current default UK-SCL licence is CC BY-NC in line with the minimum requirements for the current RCUK policy. It is our intention to align the licence with cOAlition S funder policies once those are clarified. However, particularly in the early days of want we envisage to be a new set of cOAlition S-aligned policies, institutions could choose to allow the academic to select a more restrictive licence on deposit. The academic will still, themselves, have the right at a future date to re-release the output on the more liberal licence retained on their behalf should they so wish.
    • AAM availability through the repository: the UKSCL default is zero months after publication (earlier if publishers allow). Institutions could also allow academics to request a longer embargo, up to the maximum allowed by their research funders for those academics not funded by a funder with shorter embargo periods….”

Turning principles into practice: EUA’s response to the Plan S Implementation Guidance

“Following the publication of the Plan S Implementation Guidance, EUA reiterates its supports for Plan S, and its vision to accelerate the transition to full Open Access, even if more details on Plan S will still need to be fleshed out in the future. EUA is looking forward to a renewed version of the Implementation Guidance and is encouraging more research funders to sign or follow Plan S. On behalf of its members in national rectors’ conferences and universities, EUA offers to continue the dialogue with research funding organisations on the implementation of Plan S….”

EUA issues detailed response to Plan S amid milestones in Open Access

EUA has presented a comprehensive response to the “Plan S” consultation launched by Science Europe. Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing launched in 2018 by an international group of research funders (Coalition S). EUA has a special interest in Plan S as it complements the Association’s efforts on Open Access to scholarly publications….”

Second Big Deals survey: Preview of the results

“EUA has published a preview of the results of the latest edition of its Big Deals survey. The large-scale initiative covers 31 consortia in Europe, representing universities and other organisations, responsible for the negotiation of Big Deal contracts with publishers. 

The preliminary results show that more than one billion euros are spent every year across Europe in electronic resources, of which more than 700 million go to periodicals alone. These numbers are subject to an average annual increase of 3.6%. Notably, universities support about 72% of these costs. 

The survey results illustrate EUA’s contribution to increasing transparency in the publishing area, particularly from the point of view of universities. This aim is also in line with the recent complaint that EUA presented to the European Commission, DG Competition, on the lack of transparency and competition in the academic publishing market in Europe and beyond. 

Conducted in 2018, this is EUA’s second Big Deals survey. The first edition was published early last year. Not only has the number of surveyed consortia increased from 27, but the quality of the data gathered has improved greatly. EUA will link the outcomes of this survey with other key areas in its work, namely institutional policies on Open Access, research assessment methodologies and its impact analysis of Plan S . 

The full survey report will be published in April 2019 on the occasion of the EUA Annual Conference….”

Austria: Five leading Universities and most important Funder Unite to Support the Open Library of Humanities

We are pleased to announce that five Austrian institutions – the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna as Higher Supporters as well as the University of Graz, the University of Salzburg and the University of Vienna as Regular Supporters – have come together to begin work on a national consortium to support the Open Library of Humanities. This is part of the recently launched OLH Open Consortial Offer, an initiative that offers consortia, societies, networks and scholarly projects the possibility to join the Open Library of Humanities Library Partnership Subsidy system as a bloc. The newly formed consortium is also currently inviting other Austrian universities, extramural research institutions, learned societies, funding bodies etc. to join the group in its mission to support scholar-led, gold open-access publishing initiatives with no author-facing charges….”

Fearing plagiarism, universities avoid INFLIBNET Shodhganga repository « Engineering, Science & Technology Resources Portal

“Bhopal: Fearing plagiarism in thesis awarded for doctorate in philosophy (PhD), prominent universities in the state have shied away from submitting the thesis in the Shodhganga repository despite a clear directive from the UGC to do so. The objective of using Shodhganga was to avoid duplication, plagiarism and repetition that, in effect, is wastage of huge resources….

Two years ago, UGC mandated that after completion of the evaluation and before the announcement of MPhil/Ph.D degree(s), the Institution concerned shall submit an electronic copy of the thesis to the Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET), for hosting the same so as to make it accessible. To implement this provision of UGC Regulations, 2016, Shodhganga repository was set up….”

Guidance on submissions (2019/01) – REF 2021

“106. The four UK HE funding bodies believe that the outputs of publicly funded research should be freely accessible and widely available. Open access research brings benefits to researchers, students, institutions, governments, public bodies, professionals and practitioners, citizen scientists and many others. Open access has the potential to make research more efficient and impactful. In view of these benefits, and to embed open access as an intrinsic part of the research process, the funding bodies have introduced a policy requirement on open access in REF 2021.

107. The intent of the REF open access policy is to provide a set of minimum requirements for open access, while encouraging an environment where researchers and HEIs move beyond the minimum requirements. HEIs can demonstrate where they have gone beyond the requirements in the environment template (REF5b) in the research and impact strategy section (see the ‘Panel criteria’, paragraph 346). The funding bodies encourage institutions to take a proportionate view of the costs and benefits of making other types of outputs (including monographs) available as open access.

108. The open access policy applies to journal articles and conference contributions (with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)) which are accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 and published on or before 31 December 2020. It requires these research outputs to be made open access for those outputs to be eligible for submission in REF 2021. The outputs should be deposited, discoverable, and free to read, download and search within, by anyone with an internet connection. The funding bodies recommend that institutions fully consider the extent to which authors currently retain or transfer the copyright of works published by their researchers, as part of creating a healthy research environment.

109. Authors and institutions can meet the policy requirement without necessarily incurring any additional open access publication costs (such a through payment of an article processing charge).

110. Evidence gathered in 2017 indicates good progress is being made by the sector in implementing the policy, and a range of systems and tools are being developed to assist authors and institutions in making their outputs open. However, the funding bodies recognise that the current structures and software solutions are still at an early stage, and that it will take time to fully establish open access as an intrinsic part of the research process. The funding bodies expect the sector and service providers to continue the momentum to develop new tools to implement the policy, particularly relating to the deposit requirements. In view of this, there are measures and exceptions which have been developed to provide a degree of tolerance of non-compliance.

111. The funding bodies recognise that information on deposit permissions, licences and embargoes can sometimes be unclear, complex, or hard to find. Until significant progress has been made to address this issue (including developing machine-readable licences and permissions), it is reasonable for the sector to rely on shared services, including those offered by SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access). Authors and institutions should feel comfortable acting on the information provided by SHERPA in meeting REF 2021 open access requirements, and should not undertake additional work to verify this information.

112. Institutions are not expected to correspond with previous institutions to evidence that outputs published while a staff member was previously employed elsewhere fulfilled the requirements of the policy. This is the case even if the new employer intends to submit the output to REF 2021. For example, when a researcher moves from the institution where the output was published (X), to another institution (Y), the REF does not expect that institution Y corresponds with institution X to seek and retain evidence of the output’s compliance. Where an institution is unable to ascertain themselves if an output is compliant with the policy, a policy exception can be applied (see paragraph 255.a).

113. The intent of this policy is for the output to be made freely available. The policy encourages outputs which are submitted with a deposit, technical, or other exception to be made open access as soon as possible. However, this is not a requirement of the policy.

114. The REF 2021 audit process will seek assurance that the information and data submitted regarding compliance are accurate and reliable….”