Alma Swan JISC Report: How to build a business case for an Open Access policy

JISC-Commissioned Report By:

Alma Swan
EnablingOpenScholarship (EOS) &
Key Perspectives


How to build a business case for an Open Access policy

Full version of the report

Podcast interview with Alma Swan and Neil Jacobs

A new report launched today (25 February 2010) shows how universities can work out how much they could save on their profit and loss accounts as well as increasing their contribution to UK plc when they share their research papers through Open Access.

The ?modelling scholarly communication options: costs and benefits for universities? report, written by Alma Swan, is based on different types of university. It shows how universities might reduce costs, how they can calculate these saving and their greater contribution to society by following an Open Access route.

Neil Jacobs, programme manager at JISC says, ?This is the first time that universities will have a method and practical examples from which to build a business case for Open Access and to calculate the cost to them of the scholarly communications process. For example working out the value of researchers carrying out peer-reviewing duties or the comparative costs of the library handling of journals subscribed to in print, electronically, or in both formats.

?As universities such as Edinburgh, Salford and UCL lead the world to mandate self-archiving and adopt Open Access policies, this report gives evidence to help universities make informed decisions about how their research is disseminated. There are still issues to overcome and the benefits of adopting an Open Access route can be seen through economies of scale, the more researchers disseminate their work through this route the greater the benefits.?

The key findings from the report show:

? The annual savings in research and library costs of a university repository model combined with subscription publishing could range from £100,000 to £1,320,000

? Moving from Open Access journals and subscription-funding to per-article Open Access journal funding has the potential to achieve savings for universities between £620,000 per year and £1,700,000 per year if the article-processing charge is set at £500 or less

? Savings from a change away from subscription-funding to per-article Open Access journal funding were estimated to be between £170,000 and £1,365,000 per year for three out of the four universities studied when the article-processing charge is £1000 per article or less

? For the remaining university in the study a move from subscription-funding to the per-article Open Access journal funding saw the university having to pay £1.86m more in this scenario

Jacobs adds: ?While some research intensive universities may pay more for the subscription-funding to per-article Open Access journal scenario, it should be noted that many research funders, including the Research Councils and Wellcome Trust, may contribute article-processing charges as a part of normal research grants, so that all universities have a potential source of income to cover the majority of such costs.

?JISC is working with partners in the sector to overcome the barriers which exist to adopting Open Access.?

The report focussed on three approaches to Open Access:

Open access journals – content freely available online using a business model that does not rely on subscriptions

Open access repositories ? the current subscription-based system is supplemented by the provision of Open Access articles in repositories

Open access repositories with overlay services ? content is collected in repositories and service providers carry out the publishing services necessary, for example the peer-review process

Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor at the University of Salford says: ?We have recently implemented an Open Access mandate to self-archive. The reason we decided to adopt this approach is that evidence shows that research published online has higher citations and can also be used as a way to promote our competitiveness internationally.?

If you?re looking to implement an Open Access policy here are four aspects to consider:

? Consult across the whole the university on the barriers and benefits of implementing an Open Access policy

? Promote the Open Access policy and procedures to all staff to provide researchers with clear guidance on the opportunities open to them.

? Invest in a university repository; the small investment in setting one up will yield benefits in managing and sharing a university?s research outputs

? Set up financial processes to manage income and expenditure for Open Access publication charges; this will help researchers publish in Open Access journals

Supporting materials:

? How to build a case for university policies and practices in support of Open Access

? Publishing research papers: which policy will deliver best value for your university

The report was commissioned by JISC and written by Alma Swan of EnablingOpenScholarship (EOS), Key Perspectives and University of Southampton.

Full version of the report

Podcast interview with Alma Swan and Neil Jacobs

Never Pay Pre-Emptively For Gold OA Before First Mandating Green OA

In February 2010, University of Hong Kong signed a hybrid Gold OA “Open Choice” agreement with Springer.

In October 2008 in ROARMAP, University of Hong Kong proposed to the University Grants Committee (RGC/UGC) an Open Access Mandate for all RGC/UGC-funded research.

It is not yet clear whether in the meantime this mandate has actually been adopted, by either HKU or RGC/UGC. The proposed mandate itself was an almost-optimal one:

It was an Immediate-Deposit mandate, but it seems to have misunderstood the fact that a postprint can be deposited in the Institutional Repository without having to seek “permission” from the publisher. Permissions are only at issue at all for the date when the deposit can be made Open Access:

ii. [HKU RGC/UGC-funded researchers] should send the journal the Hong Kong author?s addendum (University of Hong Kong, 2008), which adds the right of placing some version (preprint or postprint) of the paper in their university?s institutional repository (IR). If necessary, seek funds from the RGC to pay open access charges up to an agreed limit; perhaps US$3,000…

iv. deposit all published papers in their IR, unless the journal refuses in writing. If the published version is refused, deposit the preprint or postprint, as allowed in number ii above…

The proposed mandate’s language makes it sound as if HKU wrongly believes that it needs to pay the publisher for the right to deposit!

It is to be hoped that this will be clarified and that the deposit mandate will be adopted (both for RGC/HGC-funded research and for unfunded HKU research) before HKU begins to pay any publisher anything at all.

Otherwise, as the Houghton Report shows, HKU is gratuitously paying a lot more money for a lot less OA and its benefits.


On Not Putting The Gold OA-Payment Cart Before The Green OA-Provision Horse
SUMMARY: Universities need to commit to mandating Green OA self-archiving before committing to spend their scarce available funds to pay for Gold OA publishing. Most of the university’s potential funds to pay Gold OA publishing fees are currently committed to paying their annual journal subscription fees, which are thereby covering the costs of publication already. Pre-emptively committing to pay Gold OA publication fees over and above paying subscription fees will only provide OA for a small fraction of a university’s total research article output; Green OA mandates will provide OA for all of it. Journal subscriptions cannot be cancelled unless the journals’ contents are otherwise accessible to a university’s users. (In addition, the very same scarcity of funds that makes pre-emptive Gold OA payment for journal articles today premature and ineffectual also makes Gold OA payment for monographs unaffordable, because the university funds already committed to journal subscriptions today are making even the purchase of a single print copy of incoming monographs for the library prohibitive, let alone making Gold OA publication fees for outgoing monographs affordable.) Universal Green OA mandates will make the final peer-reviewed drafts of all journal articles freely accessible to all would-be users online, thereby not only providing universal OA, but opening the doors to an eventual transition to universal Gold OA if and when universities then go on to cancel subscriptions, releasing those committed funds to pay the publishing costs of Gold OA.

The Immediate Practical Implication of the Houghton Report: Provide Green Open Access Now

ABSTRACT: Among the many important implications of Houghton et al?s (2009) timely and illuminating JISC analysis of the costs and benefits of providing free online access (?Open Access,? OA) to peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific journal articles one stands out as particularly compelling: It would yield a forty-fold benefit/cost ratio if the world?s peer-reviewed research were all self-archived by its authors so as to make it OA. There are many assumptions and estimates underlying Houghton et al?s modelling and analyses, but they are for the most part very reasonable and even conservative. This makes their strongest practical implication particularly striking: The 40-fold benefit/cost ratio of providing Green OA is an order of magnitude greater than all the other potential combinations of alternatives to the status quo analyzed and compared by Houghton et al. This outcome is all the more significant in light of the fact that self-archiving already rests entirely in the hands of the research community (researchers, their institutions and their funders), whereas OA publishing depends on the publishing industry. Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that this outcome emerged from studies that approached the problem primarily from the standpoint of the economics of publication rather than the economics of research.

Springer’s Already on the Side of the Angels: What’s the Big Deal?

SUMMARY: The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has made a deal with Springer that articles by VSNU authors will be made OA. But Springer is already on the side of the angels on OA, being completely Green on immediate, unembargoed author OA self-archiving. Hence all VSNU authors are already free to deposit their refereed final drafts of their Springer articles in their institutional repositories, without requiring any further permission or payment. So what in addition is meant by the VSNU deal with Springer? that the Springer PDF rather than the author’s final draft can be deposited? That Springer does the deposit on VSNU authors’ behalf? Or is this a deal for prepaid hybrid Gold OA? In the case of Springer articles, it seems that what the Netherlands lacked was not the right to make them OA, but the mandate (from the VSNU universities and Netherlands’ research funders like NWO) to make them OA. There are some signs, however, that this too might be on the way…

University of California: Throwing Money At Gold OA Without Mandating Green OA


Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

OpenAIRE Press Release

European Countries join forces to realize the EC Open Access pilot: OpenAIRE

OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe), a three-years project funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, has now taken up its work to implement Open Access on a pan-European scale. This ambitious effort unites 38 partners from 27 European countries.

The main goal of OpenAIRE is to support the Open Access pilot, launched by the European Commission in August 2008. This Open Access pilot, which covers about 20% of the FP7 budget, commits researchers from 7 thematic areas (Health, Energy, Environment, Information & Communication Technology, Research Infrastructures, Socio-economic sciences & Humanities and Science in Society) to deposit their research publications in an institutional or disciplinary Open Access repository, to be made available worldwide in full text. OpenAIRE will establish underlying structures for researchers to support them in complying with the pilot through European Helpdesk System, build an OpenAIRE portal and e-Infrastructure for the repository networks and explore scientific data management services together with 5 disciplinary communities.

“The implementation of a Europe wide infrastructure for Open Access is a milestone for the success of Open Access,” says Dr. Norbert Lossau, Scientific Coordinator of OpenAIRE and Director of Göttingen State and University Library, Germany. “The project consortium will work closely together with the European Commission, the ERC and many other stakeholders (such as SPARC Europe, LIBER, EUA) to achieve the broadest possible impact.”

The project consortium incorporates the best available expertise for Open Access & repository infrastructures in Europe and will establish a distributed support structure based on a network of liaison offices covering all European Union member states plus Norway. Consortium partners have been identified in each country, or in the case of Luxembourg, have pledged their support for the development and implementation of strategies and services for Open Access, that have gained acceptance in the international community since 2003, the launch of the Berlin Declaration.

[thanks to Peter Suber at the Open Access Tracking Project]

Why Funders Need to Mandate Institutional Deposit, Not Institution-External

Robert Kiley (Wellcome Trust) wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:

RK: “we want to avoid a situation where a researcher is required to deposit papers in both an IR (to meet their institution’s mandate) and a central repository, like PMC and UKPMC, (to meet the needs of a funder such as the Wellcome Trust).”

It is so gratifying to hear that the Wellcome Trust — the very first research funder to mandate OA self-archiving — is looking into resolving the problem of multiple deposit (IRs and multiple CRs, Central Repositories)..

The solution will have to be bottom-up (IRs to CRs) not top-down (CRs to IRs) for the simple reason that the world’s institutions (i.e., universities and research institutes) are the providers of all research, not just funded research, and the solution has to be one that facilitates universal institutional deposit mandates, not just funder mandates.

IRs and CRs are interoperable. So, in principle, automatic import/export could be from/to either direction.

But since Institutions are the universal providers of all research output, funded and unfunded, across all disciplines, it is of the greatest importance that the solution should be systematically compatible with inducing all institutions to mandate self-archiving.

For an institution that has already mandated self-archiving, the capability of automatically back-harvesting some of its own research output is fine but, if you think about it, not even necessary: If it has already mandated self-archiving for all of its output, back-harvesting is redundant, since forward harvesting (IR to CR) is the only thing that’s still left to be done.

For an institution that has not yet mandated self-archiving, however (and that means most institutions on the planet, so far!) it makes an immense difference whether funders mandate IR deposit or CR deposit.

If funders mandate CR deposit (even with the possibility of automatic back-harvesting to the author’s IR), institutions that have not yet mandated self-archiving are not only left high and dry (if they aren’t mandating local self-archiving for any of their research output, they couldn’t care less about back-harvesting the funded subset of it); but the synergistic opportunity for funder mandates to encourage the institutions to mandate self-archiving for the rest of their research output is also lost: Funders instead need to systematically mandate IR deposit: Funder-mandated IR deposit launches and seeds IRs, and makes the adoption of an institutional mandate for the rest of the institutional research output all the more natural and attractive.

In contrast, funder mandates requiring institute-external deposit (even if they offer an automatic back-harvesting option) not only fail to encourage institutional deposit and institutional deposit mandates, but they increase the disincentive to do so, and in two ways:

(1) Authors, already obliged to deposit funded research institution-externally, will resist all the more the prospect of having to do institutional deposit too (whether for funded or unfunded research); hence they will be less favorably disposed toward institutional mandates rather than more favorably (as they would be if they were already doing their funder deposits institutionally); consequently their institution’s management, too, will be less rather than more favorably positioned for adopting an institutional mandate.

(2) Worse, some funder mandates (including, unfortunately, the Wellcome Trust mandate) allow the fulfillment of the conditions of the mandate to be done by publishers doing the (central) deposit instead of the authors that are actually bound by the mandate. That adds yet another layer of divergent confusion and diffusion of responsibility to deposit-mandates (apart from making it all the harder for funders to monitor compliance with their mandates), since fundee responsibility for “compliance” is offloaded onto publishers, who are not only not fundees (hence not bound by the mandate), but not all that motivated to deposit any sooner than absolutely necessary, if at all. (This is also, of course, a conflation with Gold OA publishing, where the funders are paying publishers for the OA.)

The natural, uniform, systematic and optimal solution that solves all these problems at one stroke — including the funders’ problem of systematically monitoring compliance with their mandate — is for all self-archiving mandates — institutional and funder — to stipulate that deposit should be in the author’s IR (convergent deposit). That way (i) each funded institution is maximally motivated to adopt a mandate of its own; (ii) authors have only one deposit to make, for all papers, in one place, their own IRs; (iii) institutions can monitor funder mandate compliance as part of grant fulfillment, and (iv) the automatic harvesting can be done in the sole direction it is really needed: IR to CR.

Robert mentions two other points below: publisher resistance to CR deposit and the question of XML:

(a) In the OAI-compliant, interoperable age, there is no need for the full-texts to be located in more than one place (except for redundancy, back-up and preservation, of course). If the full-text is already in the IR, all the CR needs to harvest is the metadata and the link.

(Besides, once universal OA mandates usher in universal Green OA, everything will change and optimize even further, But for now, the real hurdle is getting to universal Green OA, and the retardant is institutional sluggishness in mandating self-archiving. That is what makes convergent reinforcement — instead of divergent competition — from funder mandates so crucial at this time.)

(b) In the not too distant future, authors will all be providing XML anyway. What is urgently missing today is not XML but those all-important refereed-article full-texts (final refereed drafts), in any format. It would be exceedingly short-sighted to put extra needless hurdles in the path of getting that urgently needed full-text OA content today, just because we are in such an unnecessary hurry for XML!

(Again, once we have universal Green OA, all kinds good of things will happen, and happen fast, as a matter of natural course. But right now, we are needlessly — and very short-sightedly — over-reaching for inessentials like XML or the publisher’s proprietary PDF, and for centrally deposited full-texts (and, for that matter, for the adoption of authors’ addenda reserving copyright, as well as for the transition to Gold OA publishing) at the cost of continuing to fail, year after year, to do the little it would take to usher in universal Green OA.)

RK: “To… simply use the SWORD protocol to move content from repository A to repository B… does not address the rights issues….some publishers … allow authors to self-archive papers in an IR, but… NOT [in a CR]”

But the question we need to clear-headedly ask ourselves about this fact is: So what?

What we urgently need now is universal Green OA, regardless of locus. There is no particular rush for CR full-texts, and Green publishers have already blessed immediate IR deposit. Why balk at that, and needlessly insist on more, only to get much less? (This is precisely what has been going on year after year now, with the myopic, counterproductive and gratuitous divergence of funder mandates from institutional mandates.)

RK: “In addition to the rights-management problem, there are other issues we need to address such as how a manuscript, ingested from an IR, could be attached to the relevant funder grant, and how a researcher could be motivated to “sign-off” the version of the document in PMC/UKPMC, given that they would have already deposited in the IR. [As you may be aware, every author manuscript in PMC and UKPMC is converted to XML. To ensure that no errors are introduced through this exercise, authors are required to sign-off the conversion before it can be released to the public archive.]”

But why, why all this? There’s an urgent need for the full-texts. There’s no urgent need for the XML. There’s an urgent need for an OA version somewhere, but no urgent need that it must be in a CR. The CR need merely harvest the metadata. Nothing to sign off. Nothing to convert. And the eager institutions will be only too happy to monitor and ensure fundee compliance both for doing the deposit (which should be immediately upon acceptance of the final refereed draft for publication) and for setting access to the deposit as OA (whenever the allowable embargo, if any, elapses).

Gratuitous pseudo-problems are being allowed to get in the way of powerful immediate practical solutions in these complicated and arbitrary self-imposed criteria. (Let us not forget that this has all been hastily improvised in the past 4 years; we are not talking about longstanding, rational, time-tested canonical criteria here!)

RK: “In view of these issues our preferred approach is to encourage researchers to deposit centrally, and then provide IR’s with a simple mechanism whereby this content can be ingested into their repository. Of course, even with the UKPMC to IR approach there may be rights management issues to address. This development work has only just begun but I will keep you (and this list) abreast of progress.”

I hope some further thought will be given to the many reasons adduced here to explain how the proposed solution (CR deposit and automatic IR import capability) is still needlessly far from being the optimal solution, which is the simple, pragmatic alternative that would deliver far more OA at no loss whatsoever: both funders and institutions mandate IR deposit and CRs harvest the metadata from the IRs.


— 2009 —

“>On the Wellcome Trust OA Mandate and Central vs. Institutional Deposit

Conflating OA Repository-Content, Deposit-Locus, and Central-Service Issues

Institutional vs. Central Repositories: 1 (of 2)

Institutional vs. Central Repositories: 2 (of 2)

“>Funder Grant Conditions, Fundee/Institutional Compliance, and 3rd-Party Gobbledy-Gook

NIH Open to Closer Collaboration With Institutional Repositories

“>Universities and their IRs Can Help Monitor Compliance With Funder Mandates

“>Waking OA’s Slumbering Giant: Why Locus-of-Deposit Matters for Open Access and Open Access Mandates

“>Which Green OA Mandate Is Optimal?

Institutional and Central Repositories: Interactions

“>Nature’s Offer To “Let Us Archive It For You”: Caveat Emptor

Institutional Repositories vs Subject/Central Repositories

Optimizing the European Commission’s Open Access Mandate

“>One Small Step for NIH, One Giant Leap for Mankind

“>Institutional OA Mandates Reinforce and Monitor Compliance With Funder OA Mandates

European Research Council Mandates Green OA Self-Archiving

Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally

— 2006 —

“>Preprints, Postprints, Peer Review, and Institutional vs. Central Self-Archiving

“>The Wellcome Trust Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate at Age One

“>Central versus institutional self-archiving

— 2000 – 2006 —

American Scientist Open Access Forum Threads on:

Central versus institutional self-archiving

Central Versus Distributed Archives


Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum