A GBP10 million Government investment announced recently by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts will help UK universities with the transition to open access to publicly-funded research findings.
The investment will enable a number of research-intensive UK institutions to kick-start the process of developing policies and setting up funds to meet the costs of article processing charges (APCs). This is in line with the recommendations of the Finch report on open access, published in June.
Speaking at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, David Willetts said: “Removing paywalls surrounding publicly-funded research findings is a key commitment for this Government and will have real economic and social benefits. This extra GBP10 million investment will help some of our universities move across to the open access model. This will usher in a new era of academic discovery and keep the UK at the forefront of research to drive innovation and growth.”
The investment will be made to 30 institutions receiving funding through Research Councils and UK higher education funding councils. It is in addition to the contribution RCUK will be making to institutions to support payment of APCs associated with open access through block funding grants from 1 April 2013 onwards.
The UK Funding Councils will launch a consultation this autumn on implementing a requirement that research outputs submitted to any future Research Excellence Framework (REF) should be as widely accessible as possible.
The Government has already formally responded to the Finch report on open access and accepted the main recommendations. The details of how the measures detailed in the report should be developed are being worked on by funders in consultation with universities, research institutions, authors and publishers.
The Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch can be found here: http://www.researchinfonet.org/publish/finch/. The Government response to the Finch report can be found here: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/science/docs/l/12-975-letter-government-response-to-finch-report-research-publications.pdf. Research Councils UK announced its new open access policy on 16 July 2012. Further information is available at: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/media/news/2012news/Pages/120716.aspx. RCUK’s full open access policy can be found at: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/Pages/outputs.aspx. A list of institutions that will receive the additional funding is available from Research Councils UK at http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/media/news/2012news/Pages/070912.aspx.
(ACCESS 83, December 2012)