JISC Open Access FAQ

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 18:18:26 +0100

    From Peter Suber's Open Access News

    FAQ on OA from four major UK organizations

    Four important UK research organizations have produced a succinct
    FAQ on open access,
    Questions and answers about opening up access to research results. The
    four organizations are Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC),
    Research Councils UK (RCUK), Council for the Central Laboratory for
    the Research Councils (CLRC), and the Research Libraries Network
    (RLN). Currently, 10 of the 12 questions are about OA archiving and
    two about OA journals. From the introduction: 'Our four organisations
    believe that, as a matter of principle, the outputs of publicly
    funded research should be made available as widely and rapidly
    as possible. Hence we are taking steps to encourage free on-line
    access to research results. This document briefly describes what is
    meant by Open Access and repositories and attempts to answer some
    common questions that researchers pose....The day is approaching when
    anybody, anywhere with a computer and internet connection will be able
    to access research data or scholarly journal articles, free of charge,
    as soon as they are placed on-line. In future, researchers whose
    institutions cannot afford journal subscriptions will nonetheless
    be able to access articles describing the results of publicly funded
    research....To stimulate these changes, we are encouraging researchers
    to place their papers in digital repositories. We are backing up our
    action with our own research and development programmes to address
    the key issues as they arise.'

    (PS: This is a useful document --as important for its clear answers as
    for its institutional backers. It also gives an encouraging glimpse
    of the still-forthcoming RCUK policy on OA.)

    Permanent link to this post Posted by Peter Suber at 9:35 AM.

I agree with Peter that this is a useful document. I would add only that the
cost estimate -- "Initial start-up costs of around £80k might be expected,
followed by an annual cost of about £40k to cover recurrent costs such as staff
(including overheads), equipment and software" -- is *not* for just an OA
archive, which can be created and maintained for far, far less:

The much higher estimate is for an Institutional Repository intended to
do a lot of other things for an institution over and above providing
Open Access to its journal article output. All those other things are
fine, and desirable, but it is misleading and a mistake to call their
price tag the price tag for providing OA! It makes it seem that providing
OA to 100% of an institution's self-archived journal article output
would be an order of magnitude more costly than it really is!

With OA already long overdue, and research impact (and impact
income!) still being needlessly lost daily, monthly, yearly, this is
not the time to give the incorrect impression that an institution cannot
provide 100% OA unless it is ready to pay£80k down and£40k recurrent! If
they do that, then they get a lot more than OA for their money, but if
they are not ready or able to do that, they can still have 100% OA for
a lot less money (under a tenth of those estimates)!

Stevan Harnad

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2005)
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UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-1 ("green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a open-access journal if/when
            a suitable one exists.
    in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
            in your institutional repository.
Received on Sat May 28 2005 - 18:18:26 BST

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