How and Why RCUK Open Access Policy Needs Revision.
Digital Research 2012, Oxford, GB,
PDF (Presented at Digital Research 2012, Oxford, 11 September 2012)
The Web is destined to become humankind's Cognitive Commons, where digital knowledge is jointly created and freely shared. The UK has been a leader in the global movement toward Open Access (OA) to research but very recently its leadership has been derailed by the joint influence of the publishing industry lobby from without and well-intentioned but premature and counterproductive over-reaching from within the OA movement itself.
The result has been the extremely counter-productive Finch Committee Report followed by a new draft of the RCUK OA policy, downgrading the role of cost-free OA self-archiving of research publications ("Green OA") in favour of paying subscription publishers extra money, over and above subscriptions, out of scarce research funds, in exchange for making single articles OA ("hybrid Gold OA"). The motivation is to reform publication and to gain certain re-use rights, but the likely effect will be researcher resistance, very little OA, a waste of scarce research funds and the loss of the UK's global leadership in the OA movement. There is still time to fix the RCUK policy: Drop the 9 words that stipulate that if your chosen journal is a hybrid OA/non-OA subscription journal that offers (Libre) Gold OA, you must pay for Gold OA rather than just provide cost-free Green OA. -- And then implement a compliance verification mechanism to ensure that Green OA deposits are made in the author's institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. (Embargoes, if any, should apply only to the data the deposit is made OA, not the date the deposit is made.)
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