House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Report on open access

22 February 2013

Commenting on the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Report on open access Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“We welcome the Committee’s report and their call for Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Government to take immediate action to address specific concerns about the transition to open access.

“We have always said we were committed to open access but research intensive universities face a number of challenges in the implementation of this policy.

“The UK benefits enormously from its world-class research base.  But there is a danger the Government and RCUK will damage what the Committee rightly recognises as the “complex ecology” of research communications.

“Open access policy is effectively being extended far beyond research funded by the Research Councils, without any additional support being made available to cover these costs. We estimate RCUK funding will only cover gold open access costs for around 10% of total Russell Group publications.

“The green route should be considered as a viable and cost-effective route for delivering open access. Embargo periods still need to be agreed and could be phased with the intention to deliver shorter periods over time. Greater freedom could also be given on licence requirements to help keep costs down and ensure researchers aren’t overly restricted in where they can publish.

“We are concerned the Government’s open access policy is focused predominantly on so-called 'gold' open access, and welcome the recommendation that Government conduct a full cost-benefit analysis of the policy.

“We welcome recent engagement with RCUK to discuss these challenges and hope solutions can be found.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Committee report can be found here.
  2. In their summary they say: “The Finch Group report emphasised the need for a smooth transition to open access to avoid damaging the “complex ecology” of research communication. We echo this call.”
  3. In our evidence we said the Government should look in more detail at the potential unintended consequences of implementing open access policy and should include this with the RCUK review of implementation in a year’s time.

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