Improving open access to research publications
- Influencing national and international policies on open access
The conventional publication method for scholarly and scientific journals is through printed subscription journals.
However, the increasing availability of electronic publishing combined with growing demand for ease of access by end-users is leading to the emergence of new models, including open access (OA) journals.
Research conducted at Loughborough has been a significant factor in the practical realisation of OA to scholarly publications at an international level.
Research into OA began with the Rights of Metadata for Open Archiving project which investigated stakeholder needs with regard to the specification of the intellectual property of research articles deposited in OA repositories. Publishers’ copyright transfer agreements were analysed which identified the range of conditions and restrictions affecting an author’s right to deposit their work in a repository.
An investigation into the economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models was undertaken to inform policy discussion and enable stakeholders to better understand the institutional, budgetary and wider economic and social implications of the three emerging models of scholarly publication – subscription journals, OA journals and self-archiving in repositories.
Subsequent research included a project designed to inform Europe-wide Publishing and the Ecology of European Research consortium members about author and reader behaviour towards journals, with a specific focus on self-archiving articles on a European level.
ACCESS TO RESEARCH BROADENED
Access to published research findings has been extended to those who otherwise might not be able to access such material due to financial constraints. This has been achieved through development of end-user services, informing policy on OA mandates, and contributing to evidence to support wider international discussion on OA publishing.
OA REPOSITORIES WIDELY ADOPTED
The research contributed to the acceptance and development of distributed OA repositories which have been widely adopted in the UK academic community. The Registry of Open Access Repositories reports the creation of 197 UK repositories since 2005.
Evidence of the benefits of OA to the UK economy and higher education has been used in discussions between publishing stakeholders. Research Councils UK’s policy on OA has been substantially influenced as a result of the work and ensuing discussions.
A deeper understanding and a fuller picture of author and reader attitudes towards OA for the scholarly publishing industry and the OA community has been developed. This has enabled the research community – including publishers and research institutions – to engage in a well informed and open discussion.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DIGITAL AGENDA
The evidence gathered – as well as specific findings of the behavioural strand of the research – is influencing the work of the European Commission in the development of its digital agenda.