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The University of Southampton

Leading academics back UK Research Councils on self-archiving

Published: 22 August 2005

Academics from some of the UK's top universities are giving public support to the UK Research Councils' (RCUK) proposed self-archiving policy.

The academics, who include inventor of the World Wide Web, University of Southampton Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, have co-signed a document refuting claims made by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) that the RCUK policy would have 'disastrous consequences' for journals.

The claims were made in a letter from ALPSP to RCUK in response to the RCUK's position statement on Access to Research Outputs issued in June.

The rebuttal document, which has been signed by representatives from the universities of Southampton, Cambridge, Loughborough, Sheffield and Strathclyde and will be sent to RCUK by the end of the month, details the reasons why ALPSP's claims are unsubstantiated, not least because evidence has shown that not only can journals co-exist and thrive alongside author self-archiving, they can actually benefit from it.

Authors, institutions, funders and publishers benefit from the increased visibility, use and impact of research articles that are self-archived and freely available to all.

In a covering letter to Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of the RCUK Executive Group, the academics state: "We believe that RCUK should go ahead and implement its immediate self-archiving mandate, without further delay. That done, RCUK can meet ALPSP and other interested parties to discuss and plan how the UK Institutional Repositories can collaborate with journals and their publishers in sharing the new-found benefits of maximising UK research access and impact."

Notes for editors

  1. RCUK draft policy proposal:
    ALPSP critique of RCUK proposal:
    Open Letter to Research Councils UK: Rebuttal of ALPSP Critique:
    Journal Publishing and Author Self-Archiving: Peaceful Co-Existence and Fruitful Collaboration:
  2. The University of Southampton is the home of GNU EPrints software, the most widely used software for building Institutional Repositories, and the JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) TARDis (Targeting Academic Research for Deposit and Disclosure) project, which has been investigating the technical, cultural and academic issues which surround institutional repositories.
  3. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has around 20,000 students and nearly 5000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.
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