Harnad Comments on HEFCE/REF Open Access Mandate Proposal
Open access and submissions to the REF post-2014
The proposed HEFCE/REF Open Access [OA] mandate -- requiring that in order to be eligible for REF, the peer-reviewed final draft of all journal articles must be deposited in the author’s institutional repository immediately upon publication, with embargoes applicable only to the date at which the article must be made OA – is excellent, and provides exactly the sort of complement required by the RCUK OA mandate. It ensures that authors deposit immediately and institutionally and it recruits their institutions to monitor and ensure compliance.
For journal articles, no individual or disciplinary exceptions or exemptions to the immediate-deposit are needed, but embargo length can be adapted to the discipline or even to exceptional individual cases.
Embargo length is even more important for open data, and should be carefully and flexibly adapted to the needs not only of disciplines and individuals, but of each individual research project.
Requiring monograph OA if the author does not wish to provide it is not reasonable, but perhaps many or most monograph authors would not mind depositing their texts as Closed Access.
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