Making full and immediate open access a reality: the role of the institutional OA policy | UKSCL

“Policy should incentivise. In the case of the UKSCL model institutional open access policy there are:

Incentives for the academic: the retention of academic freedom to publish in the venue of choice knowing that rights have legally been retained in order to meet funder open access aims
Incentives for the library and finance directors: reassurance that funder mandates are not accompanied by significant new financial burdens for the institution
And finally, incentives for publishers: to work with us so that an affordable transition can be achieved, and so that it is the Version of Record which is freely and publicly available on publication.

Finally, If I were to have one wish, it would be this: that, having done all this work to establish this legal approach to solving first, the OA policy stack, and now, the challenges for implementing cOAlition S aims, that the policy was not, in the end, needed, and that we were instead able to find an affordable and workable route to full and immediate open access….”

Scholarly Communications Licence

“PA members are deeply concerned about a proposal from a scholarly communications working group to introduce a new model licence within HEIs. The SCL would give the implementing university a non-exclusive licence to make work open access on publication, in conflict with any green open licence in place with a publisher, and with an option for a researcher to secure a waiver from the HEI should the publisher require it. 

Principal concerns are the significant administrative burden on researchers, institutions and publishers that could arise as waivers are requested; a conflict with UK policy on OA; the way the SCL seeks immediate non-commercial re-use rights for all UK research outputs; and the potential limit it places on the choice of researchers over where to publish. 

The documents on this page set out the publisher position. …”

The University of Manchester response to the implementation of Plan S

“We are pleased to note the cOAlition’s support for the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), to which the University was one of the first signatories, which aligns with UoM’s commitment to responsible metrics. A significant proportion of UoM research is subject to existing funder OA policies. The University Library has enabled Gold or Green OA for more than 3000 papers annually since 2016 and we achieve high levels of funder compliance (currently over 90% for the UK REF OA policy). Since 2012 we have supported publisher experimentation with OA models and contributed to the development of the UK-Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL). This experience, together with responses from a University-wide consultation on the implementation of Plan S, informs our comments and concerns detailed below. The ‘Supporting Document’ section includes further consultation responses from UoM researchers….”

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….”

Open and Shut?: The OA Interviews: Peter Mandler

“To date, much of the public debate [about Plan S] has focussed on the implications for scientists. Yet the impact on Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) scholars looks likely to be more profound.

The implications for HSS journals and learned societies are of particular concern, and there are real fears that the rules that will be applied to journals (including compulsory CC BY) will be extended to books too – a move that is felt would be entirely inappropriate. cOAlition S has yet to issue guidance on this but has said that it plans to do so. To add to the concern, earlier this year it was announced that to be eligible for the 2027 REF long-form scholarly works and monographs will have to be published OA. Monographs are key vehicles for HSS scholars to communicate their research.

 

What is particularly frustrating for UK-based HSS scholars is that Plan S looks set to rip up the settlement that was reached in the wake of the 2012 Finch Report. Wounds that had begun to heal will be re-opened.

 

As Peter Mandler, Professor of Modern Cultural History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, puts it in the interview below, “[I]t’s as if we haven’t had the five years of post-Finch arguments! We’re just going to have to have them all over again.”

 

For a sense of the challenge Plan S poses for HSS scholars please read on….”

On the practical implementation of Plan S | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“I here set out some of the practical challenges and concrete steps to implementation that I believe could help or hinder each of the points. Of course, this post is somewhat speculative since we have but very few details on Plan S….”

 

The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

Whilst take-up of open access (OA) in the UK is growing rapidly due partly to a number of funder mandates, managing the complexities of balancing compliance with these mandates against restrictive publisher policies and ingrained academic priorities, has resulted in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) often struggling with confused researchers, complex workflows, and rising costs. In order to try to address this situation, the UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) was formulated to bypass the root causes of many of these challenges by implementing a licensing mechanism for multiple-mandate compliance in one single policy. This is the first empirical study to focus on the genesis of the UK-SCL and how its implementation has been conceived thus far. A qualitative research method was used, taking the form of 14 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders from the initiative across the UK. The results indicate that those working within UK HEIs are concerned with the co mplexity of the current OA policy landscape and are frustrated with the inertia within the current system, which has resulted in higher costs, further publisher restrictions, and has not addressed the underlying tensions in academic culture. The UK-SCL is seen by its initiators as a way to achieve further transition towards OA and take back some element of control of the content produced at their institutions. The study concludes by modelling the ways in which the UK-SCL is intended to impact relationships between key stakeholders, and discussing possible implementation futures.

The ‘restricting choice of publication’ threat | Danny Kingsley | Unlocking Research

“When you work in the open access space, language matters. It is very easy to distract the academic community from the actual discussion at hand and we are seeing an example of this right now. The emerging narrative seems to be that open access policies, and specifically the UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UKSCL), are going to threaten academics’ ability to choose where they publish. The UK-SCL Policy Summary is explicitly “an open access policy mechanism which ensures researchers can retain re-use rights in their own work, they retain copyright and they retain the freedom to publish in the journal of their choice (assigning copyright to the publisher if necessary)”. Let’s keep that in mind when considering the following examples of the ‘restricting choice of publication’ argument that have crossed my path recently….”

UKSCL

“RESEARCHERS RETAIN RE-USE RIGHTS IN THEIR OWN WORK The UK-SCL is an open access policy mechanism which ensures researchers can retain re-use rights in their own work, they retain copyright and they retain the freedom to publish in the journal of their choice (assigning copyright to the publisher if necessary) Re-use rights retention enables early public communication of research findings and use in research and teaching, including online courses. Increased visibility of research outputs greatly improves opportunities for increased impact and citations. A single deposit action under the model policy ensures eligibility for REF2021 and compliance with most funder deposit criteria. Researchers retain copyright and remain free to assign it to the publisher Researchers If an institution adopts the model open access policy, its researchers will retain re-use rights of their work, e.g. for teaching and conferences. Open Access increases the speed and reach of dissemination so that research can be put to use more quickly and by more people. Open Access also improves opportunities for increased citation and impact. Researcher outputs will be eligible for submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) and will comply with most funder deposit requirements. Funders The UK-SCL is a model open access policy which is aimed at furthering funder aims of a transition towards increased openness in research communication whilst supporting researchers covered under multiple funder policies. Universities Embedding the UK-SCL model terms as part of an institutional Open Access Policy enables research outputs to be made available under terms which go beyond the REF2021 minimum requirements as encouraged by the UK Funding Councils. It facilitates author retention of re-use rights whilst preserving the freedom to publish in the journal of choice.”