Re: Richard Poynder's report on round 1 of UK Open Access proposal

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 10:37:43 +0000

At 09:27 15/11/04 +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> Information Today -- 15 November 2002

Richard Poynder has revealed some useful information not found in other
reports of the select cttee response to the govt response to the select
cttee report.

First, in an earlier post I suggested that since the original cttee report
progress has been made with some very influential UK academic bodies.
Richard has elaborated:

"And in the wake of the U.K. government’s response, pressure is growing on
Research Councils UK (RCUK)—through which half (£2.1 billion, or about
$3.88 billion) of the U.K.’s publicly funded research is funneled—to
implement its own mandate. Emulating the U.S. plan mooted by the NIH, which
has proposed that all NIH-funded research be made freely available in
PubMed Central, the RCUK could itself require its funded researchers to
self-archive their papers.
"Is such a mandate likely? “We are indeed considering the issue of
mandating deposit in institutional repositories (and possibly thematic
repositories as well),” confirms RCUK policy and support manager Stéphane
Goldstein. “[W]e still do not yet have a complete consensus among the eight
Research Councils, but we’re working hard at reaching a common position
over the coming weeks, and I’m sure that we will.” "

Such a mandate does not need government legitimacy, simply a realisation,
based on evidence presented by the cttee, that this will be a massive
benefit the academic community, which is the RCUK's constituency.

The other interesting point concerns the political consequences. I wasn't
clear why the cttee chair, Ian Gibson, was taking an adversarial stance so
publicly, but Richard again sheds some light:

"The Select Committee also has a few more tricks up its sleeve. By choosing
to publish the government’s response alongside a new report (rather than
create a “Special Report” as it normally does), it has obliged the
government to make a further response.

"In the process, it has set the government some specific tasks: to
reconsider its position in the light of the Wellcome Trust announcement; to
take on board the current European Commission inquiry into scientific
publishing (expected to support some of the Committee’s findings); and to
comment on a number of other responses that the committee has published
alongside the government’s response, including that from JISC.

"With a parliamentary debate on the issue likely, the disgruntled
politicians will also have a chance to take the government to task
publicly. In short, the committee believes it can still wring concessions
out of the U.K. government."

Steve Hitchcock
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865
Received on Mon Nov 15 2004 - 10:37:43 GMT

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