Joint AOASG and CAUL statement on the Importance of Open Scholarship

(29th November 2018)  The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) are delighted to see that the Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training committee’s report into Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research recognises the importance of open scholarship and the need for a strategic approach to it.

Importantly, the report makes a specific recommendation (Recommendation 12) that the Australian Government develops a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment. CAUL and the AOASG welcome this initiative and are ready to work with the Australian Government to achieve a coherent approach for open scholarship in Australia.

Both the CAUL and AOASG submissions to the committee highlighted the significant costs, inefficiencies and lack of transparency associated with research publication in subscription journals.

CAUL reported that Australian university libraries spent approximately $282 million on access to subscription journals in 2017 alone, and that to make their work available to those who do not have access to those subscriptions, researchers often must pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) which can range from $1500 – $8,000 per article.

The AOASG asserted that Australia lacks a national coordinated approach to open scholarship and set out a proposal to establish a national coordinating body, funded for five years, to oversee the development of a strategic approach to open scholarship in Australia. This recommendation was supported by the committee.

‘CAUL applauds the recommendation to develop a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment. Government-led initiatives across other jurisdictions have provided the impetus and imperative to develop open scholarship policy, practice and infrastructure for the economic and social benefit of their nations. This review, and the subsequent recommendations, positions Australian scholarship and research outputs as strategic assets; assets that should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable, and importantly open to all who have an interest and stake in leveraging the nation’s publicly funded research’ said Margie Jantti, President of CAUL.

‘There is a global ecosystem emerging of open scholarship which will undoubtedly lead to improvements in how research is done and communicated. Taking a strategic approach now to the development of open scholarship will position Australia well to support regional initiatives as well as to coordinate with and respond to relevant global initiatives, such as the European Plan S, and will accelerate the development of the infrastructure needed to support open scholarship in Australia’s research system’ said Virginia Barbour, Director of the AOASG.

The announcement is here.