Let Canada Be First to Turn an Open Access Research Policy into a Legal Right to Know | John Willinsky | Slaw

“Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health ($1 billion annual budget in 2016-17), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.1 billion), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($380 million) – instituted an intellectual property law exception in 2014. It effects the publication of research and scholarship resulting from grants which they have awarded. What began with CIHR in 2008, evolved six years later into Tri-Agency Policy on Open Access Policy on Publications. Under this policy “grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication.”

I raise this policy because, what began a decade ago, has only grown in scope, in Canada and globally, suggesting open access is here to say. This seems worth considering in terms of its implications for the Canadian government’s current review and potential reform of the Copyright Act.

The first thing to note with Tri-Agency Policy is that it considerably abridges the author and publisher’s right to restrict access, limiting it to twelve months rather fifty years after the author’s death (whether the author retains the copyright or assigns it to the publisher, which is often a condition for publication in scholarly publishing). This is a radical turnaround, given that Canada, like other countries, had previously done nothing but extend the copyright term limit, from the original twenty-eight years, with a fourteen-year extension, of the first Copyright Act of 1875….”

Let Canada Be First to Turn an Open Access Research Policy into a Legal Right to Know | John Willinsky | Slaw

“Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health ($1 billion annual budget in 2016-17), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.1 billion), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($380 million) – instituted an intellectual property law exception in 2014. It effects the publication of research and scholarship resulting from grants which they have awarded. What began with CIHR in 2008, evolved six years later into Tri-Agency Policy on Open Access Policy on Publications. Under this policy “grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication.”

I raise this policy because, what began a decade ago, has only grown in scope, in Canada and globally, suggesting open access is here to say. This seems worth considering in terms of its implications for the Canadian government’s current review and potential reform of the Copyright Act.

The first thing to note with Tri-Agency Policy is that it considerably abridges the author and publisher’s right to restrict access, limiting it to twelve months rather fifty years after the author’s death (whether the author retains the copyright or assigns it to the publisher, which is often a condition for publication in scholarly publishing). This is a radical turnaround, given that Canada, like other countries, had previously done nothing but extend the copyright term limit, from the original twenty-eight years, with a fourteen-year extension, of the first Copyright Act of 1875….”

Europe set to miss flagship open access target | THE News

“The European Union is set to miss its target of having all scientific research freely available by 2020, as progress towards open access hits a “plateau” because of deeper problems in how research is assessed. Sixty to 70 per cent of universities reported that less than a fifth of their researchers’ peer-reviewed publications are freely available, depending on the type of open access, according to a survey of more than 300 members of the European University Association. 

Only one in 10 universities said that more than 40 per cent of their research was published as “gold” open access, where there is no delay making it public. In 2016, EU member states’ science and industry ministers, supported by the European Commission, backed a move to full open access in just four years. This latest survey asks members about papers published in 2013, 2014 and 2015, so may not capture all progress made to date. But it still concludes that to hit the 2020 target “will require greater engagement by all of the relevant stakeholders”.

This chimes with an EU progress report released at the end of February which concludes that “100 per cent full open access in 2020 is realistically not achievable in the majority of European countries participating in this exercise in the foreseeable future”. Lidia Borrell-Damian, the EUA’s director for research and innovation, said that “unfortunately [full open access] is very difficult to achieve” and that “we have reached a plateau in which it’s very difficult to move forward”.

Open access had taken off in some subjects – like physics, where the open access arXiv pre-print platform is widely used – in which “traditional indicators” of journal prestige such as impact factors and other measures of citations were “less relevant”, she explained. But in most disciplines, these measures were still crucial for burnishing researchers’ career prospects, she added, making it difficult for authors to switch to less prestigious, lower impact factor open access journals. “As long as it [research assessment] is based on these proxy indicators, it’s impossible to change the game,” Dr Borrell-Damian said. Search our database of more than 3,000 global university jobs

This is backed up by the survey findings. The biggest barrier to publishing in an open access repository was the “high priority given to publishing in conventional journals”, a hindrance cited by more than eight in 10 universities. “Concerns about the quality of open access publications” were also mentioned by nearly 70 per cent of respondents. In some disciplines, to publish open access, “you have to be a believer or activist” and it comes “at the risk of damaging your own career”, Dr Borrell-Damian said.

Echoing a long-standing concern in science, she argued that “we need a whole new system” of research assessment that does not rely so heavily on citations and impact factors. The EU’s flagship Horizon 2020 funding scheme requires grant recipients to publish their findings openly, but this was a far from universal policy for national funding bodies, she added. A spokesman for the EU Council acknowledged that “more efforts will be needed overall to accelerate progress towards full open access for all scientific publications”.”

UK research funders target hybrid open access charges | Times Higher Education (THE)

“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….”

EU research chief’s next act: changing the future of academic publishing | Science|Business

Robert-Jan Smits, one of Europe’s most powerful figures in research, has been appointed as a special envoy on open science at the European Commission, to help push efforts to make all publicly funded research in Europe freely available by 2020.

Guest Post: Institutional Alignment: The University Press Redux – The Scholarly Kitchen

“That question of institutional relationship may have a whole new sense of urgency for some presses depending on how the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and its successor Research England, unpacks a key announcement made at the conference. Actually,  “announcement” is overstating it: it was more an expansion of an earlier hint on page 36 (Annex C) of December 2016’s Second Consultation on the Second Research Excellence Framework, that to be eligible for the next but one Research Excellence Framework (REF), which feeds the distribution of £1.6 billion of annual quality-related university funding in the UK, all monographs will need to be available in an OA manner. That is, in just over 1000 days from now in January 2021, when the REF 2027 cycle starts, UK university academic book authors will be expected to meet some as yet unspecified OA requirements. Only time will tell the exact form of OA that will be prescribed – Annex C somewhat frustratingly states ‘We do not intend to set out any detailed open-access policy requirements for monographs in a future REF exercise in this annex,’ and there hasn’t been a great deal of public discussion with publishers since its publication, at least until HEFCE’s Head of Research Policy, Steven Hill, threw down the gauntlet at Redux. Meanwhile, the 19 ‘new university presses’ in the UK and 12 institutions considering following suit according to JISC’s Graham Stone, look distinctly like a hedge on the long-term future of scholarly communication, and those US university presses that have been reluctant to engage with OA may feel obliged to do so or risk losing UK authors….”

 

Open Science (Open Access) – European Commission

“The global shift towards making research findings available free of charge for readers, so-called ‘Open access’, has been a core strategy in the European Commission to improve knowledge circulation and thus innovation. It is illustrated in particular by the general principle for open access to scientific publications in Horizon 2020 and the pilot for research data.”

Open Access in Biomedical Research (September 2012)

“In recognition of the importance of open access to the biomedical sciences, the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) of the European Science Foundation (ESF), at the instigation of its Core Group member Professor Josef Syka of the Czech Science Foundation and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (GA?R and AV?R), launched an activity to investigate what, if any, steps EMRC could usefully take to improve the open access landscape in the biomedical field across Europe…. The many valuable inputs from participants made it clear that the current model for accessing biomedical research is far from ideal and that all research stakeholders (funding agencies, publishers, research performing institutions, research libraries and learned societies) need to work together to shift to an open access model in the field. However, a number of potential hurdles, discussed in this briefing, remain to be overcome…. [T]his briefing makes a number of recommendations: 1. There is a moral imperative for open access: research papers should be made freely available to all to read, use and re-use, with appropriate acknowledgement, in order to maximise the value of biomedical research, build on the body of knowledge, accelerate the process of discovery and improve human health. 2. Individual agencies must work together to raise awareness of the moral imperative for open access: agencies and organisations that fund and perform research, libraries, publishers and researchers must work in concert to raise awareness of the moral imperative for open access publishing. National, European and international partnerships are the basis for the successful achievement of open access to research outputs. Specific actions that different agencies need to undertake in order to move towards this goal are outlined in this briefing. 3. All research stakeholders should work together to support the extension of Europe PubMed Central into a Europe-wide PubMed Central: in order to facilitate discoveries and innovation in biomedical research, research stakeholders should collaborate to establish a Europe-wide repository in biomedicine as a partner site to the US equivalent PubMed Central. The recently rebranded Europe PubMed Central represents a valuable means to achieving this goal, provided that the diversity of European partner mandates and policies can be integrated….”

In Conversation with the Wellcome Trust – sharing & managing research outputs | Unlocking Research

“In July 2017, the Wellcome Trust updated their policy on the management and sharing of research outputs.  This policy helps deliver Wellcome’s mission – to improve health for everyone by enabling great ideas to thrive.  The University of Cambridge’s Research Data Management Facility invited Wellcome Trust to Cambridge to talk with their funded research community (and potential researchers) about what this updated policy means for them.  On 5th December in the Gurdon Institute Tea Room, the Deputy Head of Scholarly Communication Dr Lauren Cadwallader, welcomed Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research, and David Carr, Open Research Programme Manager, from the Wellcome’s Open Research Team. 

This blog summarises the presentations from David and Robert about the research outputs policy and how it has been working and the questions raised by the audience….”