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FEATURE Open-access policies

of OA needs to take such differences into account. Having said this, a certain alignment of approaches should be possible even within the necessary variation. This may boil down to agreeing on specific standards for various approaches. The Global Research Council is already exploring this area. We will certainly continue to work along the lines that are defined in our strategy paper

‘Taking digital transformation to the next level’.[8]

In May 2014, we issued a call for

tender ‘Open Access Transformation’ that asks for new, innovative OA approaches in all areas of the publishing process.[9] Joint Committee also


The DFG’s decided


continue the funding programme ‘Open Access Publishing’ until the end of 2020. It is important to note, however, that the DFG offers funding

Robert Kiley is head of digital services at the UK’s Wellcome Trust O

ur approach developed because we believe that, to maximise the impact of research spend, the results need to be OA. We have

had a policy since 2005/06 so it is reasonably well established.

When we first announced our policy compliance was about 15 to 20 per cent – it’s now around 70 per cent. Wellcome Trust researchers on the whole are responding to our approach, although obviously we want to get above 70 per cent. There are a mix of issues why people don’t comply. Sometimes authors simply forget, others publish papers and then move on to the next bit of research. Sometimes publishers’ choices can be confusing.

In addition, our policy catches any paper where one author is Wellcome Trust. That author might be the 15th author out of 100 and not the corresponding author so they may have little to do with that paper. Our policy has always been that, if it mentions

Wellcome Trust, there is funding to cover OA. We have seen an explosion of OA journals and also the development of the hybrid model, which means that researchers can continue to publish where they have always published. At the Wellcome Trust we are beautifully clear. Author pays is our preferred model. If you decide to take that option you have to use CC BY. We are working with publishers to ensure they offer that option and that this licence information is exposed at the article level.

Last year we published a list of APC information. Next year we will publish licence information too. If a paper is silent on this information we will check with the publishers and authors. From the following year we will probably check and if a paper is not CC BY we will try to get our money back. We were one of the organisations actively pushing for the change to the copyright legislation in the UK. We are delighted with the recent amendment.

Our view is if you have lawful access to content 8 Research Information AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014

you should be able to mine it. If you have content that you can read until you are tired out but as soon as you bring in a machine to help you have to ask that is silly.

In the UK the exception is non commercial

at the moment. We’d like to see that non- commercial clause lifted so that people can mine research publications for commercial purposes too.

There are challenges around implementation of OA. A number of libraries say that it is very difficult to manage APCs at a granular level. We

‘Implementation is hard but OA is for the greater good. We have to get over the teething problems’

are moving from a position of one payment to a publisher to many payments to a publisher and we have not really got systems in place yet. However, we are spending all this money on research to help improve human and animal health. Implementation is hard but OA is for the greater good. We have to get over the teething problems. Obviously it is easier if funders are aligned. The UK pretty much has a national policy. Other funders – RCUK, HEFCE, Cancer Research UK and others – have similar approaches. The biggest challenge is whether the OA

author-pays market is fully functional. Earlier this year we were involved in research with Jisc and others that concluded that the hybrid market is dysfunctional. The average APC for a fully OA journal is around half that of the average APC of a hybrid, despite the subscription revenue that that hybrid also gets. The options from the report included don’t fund hybrid, which isn’t very attractive to the Wellcome Trust. Cell and the Lancet aren’t going to go OA overnight. Another option is to make sure when an

APC is being made at an institution that the institution gets a discount on subscriptions. That’s the option that RCUK is pushing and I think that model has some legs. Publishers like IOP have recently gone down that road. The challenge is that there are so many publishers that it would require lots of agreements. We considered but quickly discounted the option to rank journals by the SNIP journal metric. We discounted this idea because we are not interested in the name of the journal but in the quality of the research.

There is also the option where a funder says to a researcher that we are happy to pay a certain amount for an APC, say $2k, then after that we will pay 50 per cent. This would instil some price sensitivity into the researchers - we give block grants to institutions so researchers aren’t really aware of the costs today - but there is the challenge of the sheer administration of this approach.

There are problems with the hybrid market.

The other option is that we hope the market evolves but it is not evolving fast enough.

FURTHER INFORMATION [1] Research Council of Norway [2]

shtml [3]

Mexico statement knowledge-society

Open Access in the Knowledge Society [4]

publikationsstrategien/index.html [5] programme_evaluation/studies/study_ [6]


aspx?ID=535 [8]

lis/strategy_paper_digital_transformation.pdf [9] proposals/info_wissenschaft_14_29/index.html


Chinese Academy of Science policy

opportunities but it is up to the communities to respond to those opportunities, to hand in good proposals and, if the proposal gets funded, to develop clever solutions for OA that suit their often specific needs. We will work with partner organisations like Science Europe and the Global Research Council to explore how the transition to OA can be managed in the interest of the research community.

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