A potted history of Open Access in the UK and worldwide
The recent focus on Open Access to research outputs in the UK builds on over a decade of research and policy in this area. A good inidepth overview of the open access movement appeared in ArsTechnica.UK in June 2016 Open access: All human knowledge is there—so why can’t everybody access it?
- September: Publication of Economic analysis of scientific research publishing - A report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust which concluded: "The dominance of the commercial publishers will be challenged only if other players use the opportunities available to them"
- April: Publication of Costs and business models in scientific research publishing - A report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust which assessed the actual costs of publishing scientific, technical and medical research in peer-reviewed journals. It compared the costs between the current 'subscriber-pays' model, and an 'author-pays' model. This report provided evidence that an author-pays model offers a viable alternative to subscription journals.
- 20 July: Publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Scientific Publications: Free for all? Tenth Report of Session 2003-04 Volume I: Report
- May: The US National Institutes of Health implement a voluntary policy to make funded research openly available
- June: Research Councils UK (RCUK) released their 'Position Statement on Open Access to Research Outputs'
- October: Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy released a 'Position statement in support of open and unrestricted access to published research'. This required funded research be published in an open access format, and funds are provided in grants to support this.
- 7 April: the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) introduced their Open Access policy that all NIH funded peer reviewed articles must be freely available on the PubMed Central site within one year of publication
- 18 June: Publication of Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expland access to research publications written by the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch, which recommended that there should be a 'mixed model with a range of channels to publication' with a combination of subscriptions, hybrid and fully OA publishing with a policy emphasis on gold OA.
- 28 June: The Wellcome Trust strengthened its policy stating that: "Failure to comply with the policy could result in final grant payments being withheld and non-compliant publications being discounted when applying for further funding"
- 16 July: The UK Government announced that it accepted the findings of the Finch Report
- 7 September: The UK Government announced funding of £10 million 'to kick start the process of developing policies and setting up funds to meet the costs of article processing charges (APCs)'.
- 22 February: the Obama Administration released a new policy that required US Federal agencies spending over $100 million in research and development to have a plan to 'support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government' within 12 months
- 1 April: The RCUK Policy on Open Access came into force, requiring funded research to be made publicly available through a repository with six months for STEM subjects and 12 months for AHSS subjects. A block grant was available to pay for article processing charges to make articles Open Access at publication under a CC-BY licence if the embargo periods are longer.
- April: Science Europe - a Bussels-based association of 51 European national research organisations - released its Position Statement - Principles for the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications
- 27 May: The Global Research Council - heads of science and engineering funding agencies from around the world - released an Action Plan towards Open Access to Publications
- July: NIH began delaying some continuing grant awards because of non-compliance with Open Access policies
- 3 September: The Business, Innovations and Skills Committee published their Fifth report - Open Access which recommended greater support for green open access, shorter embargo periods and lower APCs
- October: The European Research Council released guidelines requesting that a copy of any research article, monograph or other research publication that is supported in whole, or in part, by ERC funding be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication. OA should be as soon as possible, and no later than six months after publication.
- July: 'Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework' announced - requiring researchers to deposit publications into their institutional repository within three months of acceptance in order to be eligible for the REF. This comes into effect 1 April 2016.
- 1 May: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Policy framework on research data's requirement that researcher provide a link to their supporting data for all funded papers published begins.
Open Access in the international context
The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) is a searchable international registry charting the growth of open access mandates adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders that require their researchers to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article output by depositing it in an open access repository. It contains information on policy choices such as deposit and licensing conditions, rights holding or embargo lengths and Gold OA options.
A PASTEUR4OA report on policy effectiveness "Working Together to Promote Policy Alignment in Europe - Work Package 3 Report Open Access Polices" stems from an examination of deposit rates in mandated and non-mandated institutions. It provides evidence that effective policies require mandatory deposit, a deposit that cannot be waived and linking deposit with research evaluation.
One way to track the fast moving open access situation across Europe is to look at the Open Access diary for Europe, This service brings together European news and developments on Open Access drawn from the international Open Access Tracking Project. It is possible to browse by country and summarises some of the key policy developments and services and projects in the European Union, plus a special view on humanities resources.
The Australian Open Access Support Group maintains a page 'Statements on OA in Australia and the world'